On April 27th, Bild reported that Sokratis Papastathopoulos was on the verge of a Borussia Dortmund exit, with Arsenal his ‘probable’ destination.
The defender’s agent Konstantinos Farras was said to be in ‘close contact’ with the Gunners, and it was, unsurprisingly, Sven Mislintat presented as being behind the deal.
A transfer was valued at around €20m and Bild believed Papa’s ‘rustic style’ would suit the Premier League.
On May 16th, the same German newspaper again said the defender was on the verge of a move, and added: ‘Sokratis is about to leave for Arsenal. A sale of the Greek-tackler brings around another €20m.’
Ruhr Nachrichten also reported interest Arsenal in mid May, but said there’d been no official transfer attempt yet.
So with Unai Emery now in place, we went for a look in Germany to find an update, and landed on a Manchester United claim. Waz, in an article concentrating on something else, nonchalantly said: ‘According to information from this newspaper, Manchester United has massively boosted their courtship of Sokratis. Jose Mourinho also recently picked up the phone to tempt the strong defender into a move to the English runners-up.’
That was it.
If it wasn’t for the mention of Mourinho it’d be easy to believe it was just a mistake and Manchester United had been typed instead of Arsenal. The story isn’t growing elsewhere in Germany, which would be odd if the two English clubs are set to battle for the player.
Spending €20m on Sokratis would be a relatively easy transfer for Manchester United, but it may be thought that with the club’s larger budget they’d be going for a better defender, given there’s already a group of similar level players there.
Sokratis could be a Phil Jones replacement, in the sense of being ready to put his head on the end of someone’s boot, so it depends what Mourinho is looking for.
As for Arsenal perhaps they really are on the verge of a deal and needed to wait for Emery’s arrival to finalise things.