Should Arsenal bring “tough dog” Mavropanos back next season?

Letting Mavrapanos leave will be a mistake

“He is our gladiator!”

“And when he makes a mistake, he hums around some Greek swear words. I like that.

“He’s just a tough dog.”

The dog (or more of a bulldog) that the Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo is referring to was Arsenal’s Dinos Mavrapanos.

The Greek has spent two exceptional seasons in Germany with Nurnberg and more recently Stuttgart, and thus has naturally caught the eyes of many clubs.

Arsenal look determined to buy an experienced, ball-playing defender, who has a real presence at the back. Mavrapanos ticks all boxes.

But it feels like he is being overlooked by the Arsenal board with many reports suggested he will be used to generate cash.

The Athens born defender, who has two international caps, initially helped Nurnberg in avoiding relegation in the 2019/20 campaign from Bundesliga 2 and then aided an inspiring ninth place finish for promoted club Stuttgart in Bundesliga 1.

The 23-year-old ranked first for interceptions made out of all players in the Bundesliga last season, with 2.8 per game.

The Greek has such a positive spell that the Die Roten are willing to take him on loan for a further season or even purchase him outright.

Looking at his statistics, we arrive at more reasons on why Mavrapanos should be given a chance by Mikel Aretta at Arsenal next season.

The young defender’s Passes into the Final Third figure was an admirable 4.43. He also completed 0.37 Passes into the Penalty Area per 90 minutes last season. Those figures were superior to Rob Holding and David Luiz, two players who Arteta trusted more often than not last campaign.

Arsenal fans have not seen defense-cutting passes by their center-backs lately. That can change if the Gunners keep the Greek in London.

Mavrapanos is also calm when put under pressure with a figure of 5.87 Passes Under Pressure per 90 placing him in the top 30% of defenders in Bundesliga. That number was also better than Arsenal’s duo of Holding and Luiz.

The former Stuttgart man also played 3.75 Switches per 90, which placed him among the best defenders in the German League. Mavrapanos is also a good tackler, interceptor of the ball and is involved hugely in the team’s buildup with an average of 80.10 Touches per 90.

When his Stuttgart coach talked about him being a “beast,” the Greek’s disposition was clearly one of the factors behind the coach’s terminology.

Arsenal fans can expect a defender in the same mold of Olivier Giroud. A 75.4% Aerials Won figure was slightly less than the world-class Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, somewhat on par with Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and better than Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.

Now that’s what I call having a presence at the back!

There was a huge uproar among Arsenal fans when Mavrapanos kept coveted striker Erling Haaland at bay in Greece’s friendly against Norway last weekend.

The right center-back position should not be a priority for Arsenal, even though it does need strengthening.

Handing minutes to two extremely talented defenders in William Saliba and Mavrapanos would seem a rational decision. Rather than just splashing the cash on a center-back, who will take the precious minutes away from the duo.

It will also mean having a heavier moneybag, which can eventually help Arsenal in bolstering other areas of the squad, which are in a dire need of attention.

Yash Bisht


Tags Konstantinos Mavropanos


  1. CanonSpike says:

    How is this even a question, of course he should come back, as well as Saliba. If anything, last season our youngsters proved that they are worth more to us than the senior players

    1. says:

      Yes I like the idea of a 3 at times of saliba Mavraponas and Gabriel.
      Full of youth pace and power.

  2. siamois says:

    Mavros recently told journalists when discussing the possibility of another loan/move to Germany that he had no contacts with Arsenal during his loan spell doesn’t sound good when compared with Saliba does it?

  3. Christopher Loum says:

    Dinos need to be given opportunity at Arsenal, he’s a good replacement for Holdings

    1. Akin says:

      please Leave holding alone….was by far our best defender this year…no harm in having Mavro Holding and Saliba with our other 2 brazilians. just mean we dont have to waste money on central defenders for another 3-5 years

      1. 03 gooner says:

        Holding is decent at best and would suit say a Burnley or Crystal Palace, where his weakness would be less exposed as those teams sit back and hit on the counter. But for a team like us who want to play on the front foot,highline and passing out from the back he lacks pace and his passing when pressed isn’t great either. I hope we sell personally

        1. CanonSpike says:

          So you’re expecting us to have like 4 world class CB in our team?
          I don’t get fans sometimes, this is not Fifa, Holding is fine as backup, we can’t have Saliba, Gabriel, Kounde, Mavropanos and Tapsoba in one team get real

          1. 03 gooner says:

            Never asked for 4 World class centrebacks, I’m not deluded to think that was even possible sheesh! I just don’t think holding suits a more front foot style of play where we are pressing high leaving space for teams to counter us! But FYI are would be happy with mavro saliba Chambers mari and Gabriel as our options going

          2. 03 gooner says:

            I would be happy with mavro saliba Chambers mari and Gabriel as our options going into next season

        2. Sackteta says:

          Ya so you will be happy with Mavro and Saliba who have never played in premiere league but have objection to Holding who was part of top 4 defence in PL last season. Nice, that’s what the problem is with our fan base.

          Holding > Mari > Gabriel in my books. Won’t rate Saliba and Mavro since i have not seen enough of them. We all saw Gabriel faired in his first season

  4. Reggie says:

    Any sane and sensible manager would not be selling, loaning Saliba, Gouendouzi, Mavropanos or Willock. I cant for the life of me see any reason why all of those precocious youngsters should not be given a “fair” crack of the whip next season. They have been on loan and impressed and they are all young and talented. A good coaches dream to mould talent. Funnily enough all from positions that we need strength in. It would be criminal to sell.

    1. Vinnie2000 says:

      If we decide to bring back Guendozi, Saliba, Mavro, won’t we have an Overcrowded Team??
      In defence, we already have Pablo Mari n Gabriel.
      Midfield, Partey, Elneny, ESR, Maybe Bissouma if he’s bought+ AMN n Joe Willock.
      Wer would Guendozi now play in dat midfield??
      For me, Only Willock n AMN should be brought back!!+ Buy Bissouma n 1 or 2 experienced players..
      D Team needs to be balanced!!

      1. Reggie says:

        Luiz is gone and Mari hardly plays, Bissouma not bought and i doubt he will. I actually think Partey and Gouendouzi would be a fantastic midfield. Saliba and Mavropanos have more scope than Mari. Including Mari as a first team regular after 18 months outside would be a backwards step. If there is overcrowding as you put it, sell the older players not good enough for first team inclusion.

  5. Trudeau says:

    Given our abundance of more than serviceable CBs (Chambers, Saliba, Holding, Mavroponas, Gabriel and Mari) along with our limitations out wide and in MF, we are arguably better suited to playing 3 at the back with wing backs, and two upfront.

    Appreciate it’s not Arteta’s preferred formation but “horses for courses” and all that.

  6. Vinnie2000 says:

    @Christopher Loum!!
    How can you say that about Rob Holding???
    Holding is our best Defender, currently!! He’s cool-headed, bit aggressive n makes timely tackles!!..Never gets Carded.
    Gabriel, Pablo Mari, Mavro n Saliba has to compete for d role of his partner!!

    1. 03 gooner says:

      If you want to sit deep play on the counter and just hoof the upfield holding is perfect but if you want to play a high pressing game and pass from the back then he is not it. He lacks pace, passing is suspect when pressed and his headed clearances are poor, got out jumped by sterling lol

      1. Grandad says:

        Very harsh criticism of Holding who was our best CB last season.In terms of mistakes, Gabriel and Mari are way ahead of Holding, that is fact not fiction.In fact I very much doubt if Gabriel will make the grade in the EPL .Both he and Mari are slow on the turn and positionally, Gabriel is poor.

        1. 03 gooner says:

          Maybe too harsh, hold my hands up. I just feeling we need better to go to next level. If he is 4th or 5th choice I wouldn’t complain but if he is starting week in week out then I’m not for that

  7. 03 gooner says:

    Mavropanos has all the attributes to be a success here, seems to pick up injuries here and there though but I would definitely keep him alongside saliba Chambers mari and Gabriel and would sell holding for the reasons I already stated in reply to other posters avove. My worry is arteta and his coaching staff have and will continue to overlook mavro and he will eventually be sold.

  8. Pco says:

    This is what our defence has needed for so many years! That gladiator, “tough dog”mentality. We have been referred to as having a “soft under belly”, light weight team when it comes to the fight and aggression so getting rid of mavropanos would be a huge mistake in my opinion. Chambers and possibly Holding would be the players to sell to create space if necessary.

  9. Sid says:

    Yeah, also he is very fast, I guess faster than our current options. So definitely worth a shout.

    1. Yash Bisht says:


  10. Durand says:

    Arteta seems to prefer buying new players than working with talent on the books.

    Saliba and Mavroporas should get lots of preseason minutes to see what they can deliver. Foolish to window shop for ANOTHER CB especially at prices mentioned.

    1. Yash Bisht says:

      I really want to see Saliba and Mavra at Arsenal next season.

  11. Amby says:

    Mari, Gabriel, Salliba and Mavro had a better statistics than Holding last season, selling any of those two young players would be a grate mistake like selling Martiez to Aston Villa, so to me Holding should be sold.

  12. Sammy says:

    There’s something wrong with the way Arteta treats our young talents. My view is similar to many here: Saliba and Mavro would lift our defence to a whole new level. They’re intelligent, aggressive, fast, young and have a presence that spooks strikers. What’s up with Arteta?

  13. MHR says:

    Mavropanos is a better than defender than all the options available to Arsenal at the moment. However, it is quite clear that Arteta and Edu do not rate him and will move the player on for some average new addition. What a loss it will be! There is a reason Arsenal are becoming mediocre, and the most important reason is that they keep selling their best players and replace them with below average players, and then think that they will take Arsenal to the top.

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