The latest word stemming from Italy today suggests that both Napoli and Roma are expressing an interest in the signature of out-of-favour Arsenal man Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Greek stopper Sokratis has been plying his trade in north London for the last two seasons.
After arriving at the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018, the 32-year-old quickly went on to establish himself as a key contributor under former boss Unai Emery.
All told, across his debut campaign in Arsenal’s colours, Sokratis racked up 38 starts across all competitions.
The early months of the current campaign, meanwhile, saw the veteran continue to act as a central member of the Gunners’ defensive ranks, with Sokratis having been trusted from the off in all of the club’s first 11 Premier League fixtures.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: David Luiz of Arsenal discusses with Sokratis of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on December 05, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Since then, however, things have taken a turn for the worse for the former AC Milan man.
Across Arsenal’s final 27 league outings of the season, Sokratis was handed just 8 starts.
The arrival of Mikel Arteta at the Emirates directly coincided with the stopper’s dip in playing time, with all of David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding seemingly ahead of Sokratis in the Spaniard’s central defensive pecking order.
Serie A switch?
As such, it has come as little surprise to see Sokratis widely tipped to be on the move this summer.
Arsenal’s long-standing financial difficulties have of course been well documented in the media, meaning securing any sort of reasonable fee for a heavily out-of-favour 32-year-old defender would no doubt come as a welcome boost.
And, as outlined above, such a boost could well soon be forthcoming.
This comes with a pair of Italian clubs rumoured to be expressing an interest in Sokratis’ signature.
The first come in the form of AS Roma, who, amid their struggles to find a deal for Chris Smalling, are said to be ready to switch their attentions to the Greek:
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) August 18, 2020
Napoli, meanwhile, have also been linked, with Sky Italia reporter Mario Giunta having hinted at a potential swoop on the part of the Partenopei.
Significantly, it is also added that Sokratis himself is ‘thinking about a new experience’:
— Mario Giunta (@MarioGiunta) August 18, 2020