Premier League pair Arsenal and Chelsea both reportedly have eyes for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos this summer as they look to strengthen defensively ahead of what will be a crucial season for each club in 2017/18.
Arsenal and Chelsea have each been heavily linked with Sokratis’ international colleague Kostas Manolas in the past, although nothing ever came of the speculation for either club.
According to Goal.com, the London duo have expressed interest, with Sokratis apparently open to leaving Dortmund in a bid to chase more silverware. That’s despite finishing 2016/17 with a DFB Pokal winner’s medal around his neck.
Ultimately, it is said he remains undecided. It therefore may take an exploratory look at the possible options out there to lead the 29-year-old Greek to make his mind up.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in need of at least one centre-back this summer after adopting 3-4-3 formations over the course of the last 12 months.
The Gunners’ potential weakness at centre-back was highlighted ahead of the FA Cup final last month when Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista were all ruled out, leaving Per Mertesacker to make his very first start of the season.
They got away with it that day after a fine team performance and Mertesacker’s surprising heroics, but greater depth is required if Arsene Wenger is to persist with the tactical system.
For Chelsea, it is important to add another centre-back to the mix after bidding farewell to long-serving captain John Terry at the end of the season.
Regular trio Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta were rarely off the field during 2016/17, but with Champions League football now added to the calendar for next season, the demands on Antonio Conte’s relatively small group have now become far greater.
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