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Napoli president confirms interest in Sokratis transfer

A Sokratis sale could be the start of a centerback exodus at Arsenal.

Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said that his club are working on a transfer for Arsenal centerback Sokratis. The Greek defender has experience in Serie A and played alongside Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso at A.C. Milan. Napoli are in the market for a centerback in part because Arsenal beat them to Gabriel Magalhaes and because Kalidou Koulibaly appears headed to Manchester City in a £70M-plus move.

Reports differ on the negotiations between Arsenal and Napoli — some have the clubs discussing a £4M move, others have suggested no fee would be involved. Either way, it’s a far cry from the £15M-plus Arsenal paid Borussia Dortmund for the centerback two seasons ago. The Gunners find themselves with a logjam at centerback, and any player not named William Saliba or Gabriel Magalhaes could be offloaded this window.

Sokratis was a useful player during Unai Emery’s first year in charge, but last season, he clearly fell down the pecking order. He made just two added-time cameo appearances for the Gunners during the restart. Whether he moves this summer or leaves on a free next, it’d be a stretch even to call his time at the club average. But I’ve liked him as a player. He loves a strong challenge and plays hard. In the end, was a stopgap and probably not the best piece of business Arsenal have done.