As I reported this morning the Dortmund defender Sokratis has finally been announced officially by the Gunners. The official Arsenal website has just announced…..
Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos has joined us on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.
The 30-year-old arrives from Borussia Dortmund, where he won two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup. The hugely-experienced defender lists Werder Bremen, AC Milan, Genoa and AEK Athens among his previous clubs.
Sokratis, who will wear the No 5 shirt for us, also has vast experience on the international stage, making 79 appearances for Greece.
This deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.
Well I dont know how long a “long-term” contract for a 30 year-old is, but that is another big change from the Wenger years….
And, after signing Stephan Lichtsteiner, who is the captain of Switzerland, we have now got the vice-captain of Greece. This is all good for the confidence in the dressing room. So here is a transcript of Sokratis’ first ever interview as an Arsenal player…..
Sokratis, welcome to Arsenal. How does it feel to be an Arsenal player?
I feel very good. It’s my first day here, everything is special. It’s a beautiful moment and I’m very happy that I will be here for the next years.
What appeals to you most about the club and what are your memories of Arsenal over the years?
Arsenal is one of the three biggest teams in the Premier League and one very big club. It has a lot of fans and a very big history. Like I said before, I’m very happy that for the next years I will be here to help the team.
Which of our players have you admired most?
A lot. Vieira, Henry, Pires also. It’s a lot of players. Every year, every two years, this team has a lot of players that write a big history here.
Of course you’re joined here by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. What have they said to you about the club?
I spoke [to them] a lot times. 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.
You all joined Dortmund in the same year, 2013. Is it a bit strange to be at a different club with them again?
Yes 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.
What about your playing style? How would you describe the way that you defend?
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. 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”. What’s your reaction to that? Do you agree?
Yes, of course. Of course I agree. 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.
You’re the Greek vice-captain and you were the Dortmund vice-captain. How would you describe your leadership style?
Of course now I also have the experience. Whatever happens in the team, in the national team but also in my last club, I was there to help a lot of players, and also when they asked me [about things] on and off the pitch. When they asked me some things, I was there every time. I think this is leadership, but the leader has to be first on the pitch and last off it too.
That sounds like a very good signing to me! What do you think?