Arsenal FC continues to clean up their roster by moving some players who have been deemed surplus or not seeing action for the Gunners. Mesut Ozil is the first one and it appears Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be the next to go.
Both Ozil and Papastathopoulos were left out by Mikel Arteta from the Gunners Premier League and Europa league lineup this season. This spurred rumors that both are more likely to be on the way out. With the transfer window now upon us, Arsenal made it clear that they will be busy for the period but unloading talent to hopefully gain some financial flexibility.
Papastathopoulos has officially become the next one after Ozil after his contract was canceled by Arsenal. This gives the Greek defender added flexibility as he can start negotiations with interested clubs without hitches.
One of the most enjoyable times in my career ended today. It has been an honour to wear the Arsenal shirt and I want to thank all the coaches, team-mates, staff and fans around the world for the love and respect they have given me. pic.twitter.com/F5p3VEXX2i — Sokratis Papastathopoulos (@SokratisPapa5) January 20, 2021
“This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible,” Arsenal said in an official statement.
After learning of the move, Papastathopoulos penned his farewell message to Arsenal and Gunners fans. He thanked the club for the honor of wearing the Arsenal uniform and said that his stint was one of the most enjoyable times of his football career.
“One of the most enjoyable times in my career ended today. It has been an honour to wear the Arsenal shirt and I want to thank all the coaches, teammates, staff and fans around the world for the love and respect they have given me,” Sokratis tweet read.
Sokratis is not short of options as he seeks to play again with a new team. Among the teams who have expressed interest in Papastathopoulos include Napoli, Genoa, Fenerbahce, Olympiacos and Real Betis.
Aside from that, the 32-year-old center-back has also drawn interest from Turkey, Italy and Spain. The actual teams linked to Papastathopoulos were no detailed although that could change in the coming days.
Papastathopoulos ends a two-and-a-half-year stint with the Gunners. He arrived from Borussia Dortmund and had 69 appearances for Arsenal FC. If he ends up in Turkey, he could end up either playing alongside or against former teammate Mesut Ozil.
This comes not long after Ozil agreed to negotiate the remainder of his contract so that he can play football once more. A deal with Fenerbache has yet to be announced but the final verdict on the German’s case is expected to be known in the coming days.