Arsenal have confirmed that Sokratis Papastathopoulos has had his contract terminated in north London six months before his deal was due to run out in the summer.
The Greek defender is one of a host of fringe squad players who the club have been eager to move on this January transfer window, as Mikel Arteta begins trimming his side ahead of a major rebuild.
On the eve of Mesut Ozil‘s own contract termination, it appears the paperwork has been completed in time for an earlier announcement.
Joining Sead Kolasinac, Matt Macey and William Saliba in leaving this month – with Ozil due to follow – Arsenal will now have one space left in the squad for a non-homegrown player. Make of that what you will.
Arsenal confirm Sokratis contract termination this January window
"Technical director Edu said on the official Arsenal website: “On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club.“He has been an important part of our group and has been a model professional throughout. The negotiations to end his contract have been collaborative and we wish Papa and his family well for the future.”"
The news brings an end to two and a half years at the Emirates for Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who joined from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018 under Unai Emery’s tutelage. Making 40 appearances across his first campaign in north London, the centre-back was an ever-present in Europe as the Gunners reached the Europa League final.
While there were good moments for Sokratis, his signing for a whopping £18m was failed from the get-go. Such a fee for a defender on the decline adds to a panoply of questionable recruitment moves by Arsenal. His performances dropped drastically by his second season, eventually only called upon in the case of injury or rotation.
On the ball he was nowhere near the standard required, not least for a club wanting to play out from the back. Him leaving for nothing accounts for another self-inflicted financial wound.
What absolutely can not be questioned, however, was his attitude and professionalism. Sokratis left nothing out on the pitch, never moaned about not being picked and wasn’t seen calling anyone out even when he was omitted from the squads for the current season.
Such qualities are hard to find in football these days, and for that, ‘Papa’ deserves the upmost credit. His departure had to happen and was essential this window, but he leaves with good wishes from all.