£16m defender set to join Arsenal
Gunners expected to unveil Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos as their third signing of the summer
29 June, 2018 — By Steve Barnett
ARSENAL are expected to unveil Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos as their third signing of the summer on Sunday as work continues behind the scenes to add some much-needed steel to the offensive flair that already exists in the squad.
The Gunners have been tracking the Borussia Dortmund centre-back all summer and, despite last minute interest from Manchester United and Juventus, look to have wrapped up a deal for the 30-year-old, reported to be in the region of £16million.
Asked by German outlet RevierSport if Papastathopoulos is poised to make the switch to north London, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said: “It [the deal] tends to go there, that’s right. But things are not completely finalised yet.”
Papastathopoulos will be the third player that new head coach Unai Emery has brought in having already secured the services of Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for just over £19million, and Swiss right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, who joined on a free transfer from Italian champions Juventus.
But the rebuilding job is far from finished, with Arsenal also in talks with Bundesliga side SC Freiburg over a deal for centre-back Caglar Soyuncu.
Speaking to Turkish publication Gunes, the 22-year-old defender revealed he has his heart set on joining Emery at the Emirates Stadium.
“It is true, Arsenal have made an offer,” he said. “I want Arsenal. God willing I will go to Arsenal or the Premier League but it all depends on Freiburg.
“I still have another three years on my contract. I received offers from teams in Turkey. I would not be able to give you a name, but I rejected them. I will not be returning to Turkey. I want to continue my career in Europe at the biggest clubs.”
In total Emery could add as many as six players to the Arsenal squad.
The club has already reportedly completed a deal in the region of £26.4million for 22-year-old Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira, and are waiting for the 22-year-old’s involvement in the World Cup with Uruguay to be wrapped up before confirming the deal.
There’s also interest in Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega, who would cost in the region of £18million.
It’s a link that grew stronger this week when the La Liga side signed Roque Mesa, who could be seen a replacement for Argentinian Banega.