BBC Sport pundit David Ornstein has confirmed that Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is close to sealing a summer move to the Emirates Stadium. The Greece international has just a year left on his existing deal at BvB and he has apparently turned down the prospect of an extension.
Over the years, the Gunners have been reluctant to spend on ready-made players for the Premier League with the hierarchy often looking towards the long-term. However, since the turn of the year, the focus appears to have changed with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat pursuing experienced players in the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan last winter.
Whether the move pays dividends is yet to be seen, but the current move would certainly put pressure on Emery to deliver the minimum of a Champions League spot, should the club fail to compete for the Premier League title next term. Aside from Sokratis, the Gunners are looking into a Bosman move for Stephan Lichtsteiner, who is expected to leave Juventus on a free next month.
At the age of 34, the Switzerland international may not appear as a dream signing for the Gunners faithful but Emery is said to bank on the right-back’s experience and leadership which could help in the club’s progress. The proposed move may also keep Hector Bellerin on his feet, considering Lichtsteiner is much better on the defensive scale, compared to the Spain international. Arsenal return to pre-season duty in July where they will prepare themselves for the International Champions Cup game. The Gunners have games against Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea in the friendly competition.