Arsenal have concluded the signing of the Greece international Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee.

Sokratis joined for an undisclosed fee for what the club reports as a “long-term” agreement. The 30-year-old defender, who has acquired 79 caps for his country, was recognized as one of Unai Emery’s excellent transfer targets after the Spaniard took over from Arsene Wenger.

“I feel very good, everything is special,” Papastathopoulos said. He becomes Emery’s third completed hiring after the purchase of the German goalkeeper Bernd Leno for £19m from Bayer Leverkusen and the entry of the 34-year-old Switzerland full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus

The Reunion

The former AEK Athens defender joins his previous Dortmund teammates Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates Stadium. They said to me the best things about this club, that it is one big family and of course they also called me not every day but a lot of times telling me to come here,” Papastathopoulos said.

“Yes it’s a little bit [strange] but it’s also very beautiful that I’ve come to one team but I also have two players who I was together with for a lot of years. I know them both very well and I’m very happy,” said Sokratis.

Worth the wait?

Arsenal’s progress for Sokratis has been a month in the making. The pause in completing the transfer, however, demonstrates the desire of the club to sign the player. Time is often the great opportunity for change. The longer we have to think about something, the more likely we are to change our minds. Or become more confident that the judgment we are making is the right one. It’s just human nature.

And so, in anticipating more than a month to settle a contract for Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Arsenal have had the absolute opportunity to change their minds. But they haven’t. A month later, the deal is still on, with Sokratis reportedly arriving in London on Monday to complete the final judiciaries that always occur with a high-profile transfer.

The delay, which is reportedly due to Dortmund’s request to have the transfer count against the next financial year which begins on July 1st, therefore, proves the desire of the club to guarantee that the deal is executed. What is unquestionably clear is that Sven Mislintat, Unai Emery, Ivan Gazidis and all involved with the decision needed this deal to go by unwaveringly. Everyone, to a different extent, is on board. Had they not been, it wouldn’t be occurring.

But Arsenal seems happy to say that they are. They had every opportunity to pull out of this agreement. They had a whole month to worry about the decision. They didn’t change their minds. They hardly hesitated. And that is some comfort.

A defender that Arsenal need?

Prior to making 186 appearances for Dortmund, he played for Werder Bremen, Genoa, and AC Milan. Sokratis, described by his former manager Thomas Tuchel as “a little obsessed with defending”, made 28 Bundesliga appearances latest season having proved himself as a mainstay of Dortmund’s defence since joining from Werder Bremen in 2013.

He told Arsenal’s website: It is a beautiful moment and I am very happy that for the next years I will be here. Arsenal are one of the three biggest teams in the Premier League…I’m a normal defender. I like to defend. I like that my team doesn’t take goals. I like a zero in the defence and I will do everything to help to achieve this goal.”

Sokratis Papastathopoulos will wear the number 5 shirt for the Gunners.

Meanwhile, the Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira is assumed to undergo a medical at Arsenal as he nears the conclusion of a £25 million move from Sampdoria.


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