Something of a father figure at his previous club, Borussia Dortmund – as befitting his nickname ‘Papa’ – Sokratis Papastathopoulos is now the new kid on the block, having joined the Gunners at the start of June.
Thankfully for the imposing 30 year-old Greek international, a couple of high profile friends were on hand to help the 30 year-old settle in to north London life.
“I spoke to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan a lot of times,” Said Sokratis of his former Dortmund team mates. “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.
“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.”
A player who his former manager Thomas Tuchel said was: ‘A little obsessed with defending, who wants to protect the goal line no matter what’, Sokratis is expected to make the Gunners more resolute in defence. He remains modest about his outlook on the game however.
“I’m a normal defender who likes to defend. I like that my team doesn’t concede goals and I like the zero in the defence of course,” smiles the giant Greek from Kalamata, “I will do everything to help achieve these goals.
Your former manager at Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel, said you’re a little bit obsessed with defending and that you want to protect the goal line no matter what…
“I think that a defender first has to defend, to protect the goal, and then after if he can help in front a little bit for the game, then it’s good. But first of all, he has to defend.”
We can’t wait to see Sokratis mounting a strong case for the defence this season.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.