Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, currently on loan at Stuttgart, has admitted he was ‘nervous’ when he first signed for the Gunners in 2018.
The Greek defender was a surprise signing by then director of football Sven Mislintat in the January transfer window that year, who brought him from Greek PAS Giannina in a £1.89m deal.
The move was naturally a huge step up for Mavropanos, who went from relative obscurity in his homeland to playing for one of the top six sides in the Premier League and a household name in Europe.
Indeed, a look around the squad only showed the step he had made, with high profile names such as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil, to name just two, among his new teammates.
Six months later, however, Mavropanos found himself training alongside compatriot Sokratis, who arrived in a summer move from Borussia Dortmund.
And he admits that helped him on and off the pitch, with his fellow Greek helping him in more ways than one.
“Of course, I was a bit nervous at first. When you move to Arsenal London from Greece, it’s special and unusual. But I was also very happy,” he told BILD.
“(Sokratis was) very important. We trained together for a year; unfortunately, we only played one game together.
“But it was very good for me that he came to Arsenal. I had a Greek teammate in the club who helped me a lot on and off the pitch and gave me tips.
“Thanks to him, I can read the game better now. I also learned things from him during training. I talked to him about many things.
“When you’ve got a seasoned player like him around to explain things to you in professional football, it’s almost like having a brother. We had and still have a very close friendship.”