KEY POINTS

  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos is likely the odd man out for Arsenal
  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos could be of better use to Napoli
  • Koulibaly and Milik expected to part ways with Napoli

SSC Napoli is looking for a defender and one player that makes sense is Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The 32-year-old has not seen action since the football restart and is expected to be among the players to be cut by the Gunners.

Sokratis has entered his final year at Emirates Stadium and is a prime candidate to be let go. Gabriel Magalhaes was recently added from Lillie and Mikel Arteta now owns a surplus of center-backs.

Aside from Magalhaes and Papastathopoulos, there are other players like Konstantinos Mavropanos in the fold.  Mavropanos has been sent to VfB Stuttgart on a season-long loan.

Looking ahead, Arsenal needs to unload players if they are to raise added funds for their summer targets. Sokratis is seen as one of the players likely to be let go, Sky Italia reported. Aside from Magalhaes, other players that further push Sokratis down the pecking order include William Saliba and Pablo Mari who made his permanent move from Flamengo recently.

Among the clubs looking for a center-back is Napoli. However, Gli Azzurri is hoping to get him via free transfer. Napoli lost in the race for Magalhaes and is now looking at other options. With Kalidou Koulibaly expected to move out soon, Gennaro Gattuso needs to find new defenders to take the place of exiting players.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is resigned to the fact that Koulibaly as good as gone. Aside from City, there are also other clubs interested in taking him in. Among the clubs include Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Chelsea. But the Sky Blues appear to have the inside track.

Regardless of the vast interest in Koulibaly, De Laurentiis knows that Napoli needs to find replacements. Aside from Koulibaly, another player set to move out is Arkadiusz Milik. The Polish footballer has offers to move to Italy.

But before anything else, Napoli will only deal with the matter once their asking fee is met. Gli Azzurri is seeking roughly $91 million for Koulibaly and nothing has come their way. That could only be a matter of time and De Laurentiis knows it.

“Koulibaly and Milik are both on their way out, transfer market permitting,” De Laurentiis said to Canale 21. “So, if the transfer market allows us to sell these two excellent players, we will know how to replace them. If not, then we’ll discuss it again next year.”

Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the second goal against Manchester United Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the second goal against Manchester United Photo: IKIMAGES / Ian KINGTON