Italian giants Juventus are interested in signing Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos next month, according to CalcioMercato.it.
The Old Lady’s skipper, Giorgio Chiellini, suffered a thigh injury in training this week. That’s the Italian’s sixth injury since the start of last season and manager Andrea Pirlo is beginning to worry about his options at the back.
Merih Demiral is also out injured, which has left Juve with just Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci available in central defence. Pirlo wants to sign a central defender next month and is eyeing a number of options.
David Alaba and Jerome Boateng are on his wish list, but Bayern are unlikely to allow either of them to leave mid-season. Samuel Umtiti is an option, but the Barcelona man is currently injured too.
Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic is another name on Pirlo’s shortlist but the Serbian is valued in excess of £36 million – money Juventus can’t afford to shell out at the moment.
That leaves Sokratis. Unai Emery signed the Greece international for £17.7 million in 2018 (Guardian) and at first he was a key figure. However, he has been left out of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads, and it looks as though his Arsenal career is over.
Sokratis has had his lows at Arsenal but remains a quality defender. He’s highly experienced and knows Italy well having spent time at Genoa and AC Milan.
The 32-year-old has seven months left on his contract at Arsenal. He’s clearly not in Arteta’s plans and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Gunners allowed him to leave for free, a la Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to get his wages off the books.
Getting rid of Sokratis’ £92,000-a-week salary (Spotrac) would ease the burden on Arsenal’s finances. The Gunners need additions in other areas of the pitch next month and the former Dortmund man’s departure would boost their transfer budget.