Sokratis Papastathopoulos is on the verge of leaving Arsenal in January.
Arsenal had initial plans to begin a clear out of the squad in the summer, the point where many players had their contracts running out. Unease within the camp and poor results have fast-tracked much of that to January, and boy, it’s in full swing.
A squad overhaul has been sorely needed for years. Too many players have played little part in transforming the club’s fortunes, not by fault of their own, but as the result of poor initial recruitment.
In the year since Mikel Arteta took the job he’s had his own vision of where he wants to take the team, a plan that has seen certain players exiled. Among those is Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who having been left out of both the Premier League and Europa League squads is now closing in on a departure from north London six months before his contract expires.
As per Gianluca Di Marzio, Genoa are the side closest to sealing a deal for the central defender, although they are not alone in expressing an interest in Sokratis. Fenerbahce, who are closing in on the signing of Mesut Ozil, are also in the running.
Sokratis spent two years with Genoa between 2008-2010, and has remained attached to the club ever since his departure where he became a firm fan favourite. It appears a return to Serie A is closing in, with the 32-year-old giving his approval to the terms offered by Davide Ballardini’s side.
There is confidence within the Genoa camp that a deal can be agreed and their offer will prove more alluring than the Turkish side’s, as they will hand Sokratis a two-year deal with a salary matching that of the Super Lig outfit.
It was imperative for the former Borussia Dortmund man to start playing again, as there was no chance of him making a surprise comeback to the Arsenal first-team.
Details on the deal haven’t been disclosed, although it’s expected that similar terms will be made as they were with Sead Kolasinac, which would be Arsenal loaning him to Genoa for the remainder of the season and paying some of his salary before he could permanently join in the summer.
The squad clear out is in full swing and the speed with which Arsenal are acting provides real encouragement.