Arsenal’s are the leading the chase for Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, with new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat spearheading the offensive to bring in the player from his old club.
The Gunners' long-running search for an experienced defender could bear fruit this summer as Bild report with some conviction that Sokratis is close to a transfer to the Emirates for around €20m.
The 29-year-old is said to be on the move this summer, with North London his ‘probable’ destination, according to the report.
While there is also reported interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus in the 29-year-old Greece international, Mislintat's connections at Dortmund where he spent a decade could prove crucial and the report claim Arsenal's new recruitment chief has initiated talks with the player's agent.
Since arriving at the Gunners, scouting guru Mislintat has been credited with an integral role in luring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the Emirates (also from Dortmund) in January.
In addition, former Dortmund playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move from Manchester United to Arsenal preceded Aubameyang’s move a week earlier, and it now appears that Mislintat’s Dortmund connections at Arsenal are set to grow further.
The centre of Arsenal’s defence has often been a ‘soft centre’ for Arsene Wenger's side, one which has regularly cost the team big goals at crucial times. This was in evidence at no greater time than Thursday night’s conceding of a sucker punch away goal against Atletico Madrid.
Sokratis has enjoyed consistent success at the heart of Dortmund’s rear-guard since his move from Werder Bremen in 2013, having won two DFL-Supercups and the German Cup once during his time in Dortmund.
Sokratis’ agent Konstantinos Farras is said to be in ‘close contact’ with the Gunners hierarchy, and Arsenal fans will be hoping that the Greek international’s potential arrival would go a long way towards solving their current defensive shortcomings.