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According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, with Bild crediting the influence of Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat after he held talks with the £17.5m player’s representatives.
The Gunners are shopping for a centre-back as Petr Mertesacker is retiring to become the club’s Head of Academy next season. The future of Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny is also uncertain this summer, with the defensive pair having struggled for consistency of late. Koscielny turns 33 in September too.
There are doubts about Rob Holding and Calum Chambers’s ability to marshal the backline in the future, so an experienced central defender may be required. Sokratis fits the bill as the 29-year-old has racked up more than 190 appearances in all competitions since joining Dortmund from Werder Bremen in 2013.
The Greek international has been a regular this season, making 28 Bundesliga appearances, but is out of contract next year and doesn’t appear close to signing a new deal. Dortmund look to be cashing in early to avoid losing him for nothing next summer, and Mislintat’s links with Sokratis – previously signing him from Bremen to Dortmund – have aided in the proposed deal.
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