Arsenal closing in on £15m first summer signing to solve crucial issue

Given Arsenal have yet to appoint Arsene Wenger’s successor, the task of pursuing summer transfer targets will evidently fall elsewhere for now.

Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat would seem like the logical figure to lead that side of things as the Gunners will look to identify ways to strengthen the current squad, as it’s undoubtedly needed given their sixth-place finish in the Premier League this past season.

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According to the Evening Standard, the first department they could look to address is the defence, and it’s claimed that Mislintat is ready to revisit his former club Borussia Dortmund to snap up Sokratis Papastathopoulos in a £15m deal.

Arsenal conceded 51 goals in 38 league games last season, giving them the worst defensive record of the top seven sides. To put that into a wider context, they conceded 24 more goals than champions Manchester City to show the gulf in quality that currently exists between the two sides.

Sokratis, 29, is an experienced defender with 79 caps for Greece to his name, while he’s played for the likes of AEK Athens, AC Milan and Dortmund through his career.

A rugged, combative defensive ace with enough pace and awareness to offer real solidity, he could arguably be perfectly suited to the Premier League and will be an important addition at the Emirates if he arrives.

Combined with the fact that Per Mertesacker is set to retire and Laurent Koscielny faces a significant spell on the sidelines after suffering an Achilles injury against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League, Arsene Wenger’s successor will certainly need a stronger backbone to the side starting in the heart of the defence.

Based on this Evening Standard report, it sounds like they’ve settled on Sokratis to be the man to provide the solution.

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