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Mikel Arteta has expressed sorrow over Sokratis’s departure from Arsenal this week.

On Wednesday it was announced that the Gunners had terminated the Greece international’s contract in North London.

Sokratis hadn’t played for Arsenal once this season after being left out of Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squad.

The former Borussia Dortmund defender, a £17 million signing in 2018, has won praise for his professionalism despite being out in the wilderness at London Colney, while Mesut Ozil, another in the same situation, constantly drew attention to himself by making inflammatory social media comments.

Every Golden Boy Winner’s BEST FIFA Rating Ever

Every Golden Boy Winner’s BEST FIFA Rating Ever

But Arteta has described the decision to offload Sokratis as a ‘tough one’ and wished him a sincere thank you.

He told Arsenal’s official website: “Yes, first of all I want to thank him because he is such a professional and great person to work with. It’s a shame because this season we have a lot of central defenders, we are overloaded with foreign players and I had to make a decision.

“It was a tough one and to be fair he took it really, really well, he has always been really supportive and helpful, so from the bottom of my heart I wish him the best. It has been a pleasure to work with him and I wish the best for him and his family in the next chapter.”

This is a very classy message from the Arsenal boss and it’ll be interesting to see where Sokratis winds up.

There has been speculation about him going to Italy or Spain, with Genoa and Real Betis reportedly keen.

But Arteta is right – Arsenal had way too many central defenders and there was just no room for the big man.

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