Arsenal are set to announce the signing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos on July 1, finally ending speculation about what has been one of the longest-running transfer stories of the summer.
The Borussia Dortmund defender had been reportedly signed, though no official confirmation had been made by both clubs and the player himself.
However, according to Darmeth Sheth, who works with Sky Sports, the 29-year-old Greek international will sign on the first day of next month as that day marks the start of the new tax quarter in Germany.
With the signings of Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner completed, we had been looking forward to more arrivals Unai Emery looks to evolve the team.
Sheth said recently, “Stephan Lichtsteiner is in, Bernd Leno is in and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will sign on July 1, the reason July 1 is because Borussia Dortmund want to announce that at the start of the new tax quarter in Germany.
“There are financial reasons which I cannot even begin to go into.”
The signings of Bernd Leno and Lichtsteiner have indicated that Emery is focused on adding more steel to the backline, while the imminent arrival of Papastathopoulos will add leadership and experience to a defence that often lacked concentration at critical moments last term. It is believed that Papastathopoulos will join Arsenal in a £16m fee, which is a steal for a player of his quality and experience.
He is known for his tackling, ability to read the game, and mainly for his leadership attributes, which the Arsenal team is crying out for.
Not only that, Sokratis has a 94% pass completion ratio in the Champions League Group Stage last season, the fifth-most for a centre-back. Of the four defenders who had a better accuracy rate, none attempted anywhere near as many long balls per game as the 30-year-old’s 5.6.
That suggests that while Sokratis rarely gives the ball away, he is also not afraid to try the more searching pass, which will be especially useful if opposing teams are able to stifle a more obvious creative influence like Granit Xhaka.
For various reasons, this seems like a highly encouraging acquisition.