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According to the Independent, Arsenal are closing in on Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos as their second summer signing, after Stephan Lichtsteiner joined on Tuesday afternoon. Sokratis, 29, is ‘eager to join’ the Gunners and should officially complete the move later this month.
Arsenal’s Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat has made overhauling the defence a priority this summer. Sokratis was a player Mislintat had a big hand in signing, having known him well from his spell at Borussia Dortmund, and he could be joined by two more defenders in the coming weeks.
With Per Mertesacker retiring to become the Head of Academy in 2018/19 and Laurent Koscielny likely to miss the start of next season due to a serious ankle injury, Arsenal needed to strengthen their options and bring in some experience – hence Lichsteiner’s arrival.
Sokratis joined Dortmund from Werder Bremen in 2013 and has gone on to make 198 appearances in all competitions. The Greek international has won the DFB-Pokal and two DFL-Supercups. He’ll now join an Arsenal side in desperate need of his tutelage.
Without Mertesacker and Koscielny, Arsenal would be left with the inconsistent Shodran Mustafi and the inexperienced trio of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Konstantinos Mavropanos.
For a club that wants to get back into the Champions League next season, it’s poor squad-building in a key area – something Mislintat is looking to fix this summer.