By 1970’s Gooner
Greek sports newspapers have been reporting, for some time now, increased interest from Arsenal in one of the hottest young Greek players to have emerged in the last decade.
He is 19 year old central defender Socratis Papastathopoulos who plays for AEK Athens.
Socratis impressed during the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship in Austria with his strong and mature displays which helped the National side reach the finals.
He was captain of the Greek side but missed out on the final against Spain due to a suspension.
He can play in central defence but also as a defensive midfielder. Although only 19 he has European experience under his belt with three Champions League appearances last season already.
He is the one in yellow.
Although there have recently been some reports in the English press linking Arsenal with 20m rated defender Veloso who plays for Sporting Lisbon this latest news fits in more with Wenger’s strategy when it comes to transfers.
Papastathopoulos is relatively unknown, playing in a League that not so many managers follow and above all the transfer price at the moment is put at a mere £3 to £5m.
There is also previous history between Wenger and Greece. Don’t forget that Wenger bought a young Tavlarides from Iraclis Thessalonika a few years back. He is now an established defender in the French League with Saint-Étienne.
Interestingly Arsenal and AEK Athens have been cooperating since last year on issues of football management and training methods especially after the visit to London Colney by the Greek team’s Spanish manager and the club’s president.
In addition Arsenal have this year formally established an Arsenal Academy network consisting of 25 selected academies spanning the whole of Greece.
So it is not a surprise that, as reported by the Greek press, an Arsenal scout, Thomas Cost, has already been dispatched to the Greek capital to watch Papastathopoulos from close quarters, even during training!
This should also not surprise. Robin Van Persie has recently revealed that the dossier prepared by the Arsenal scouts prior to his transfer to Arsenal contained information obtained during Feyenoord’s training:
“I couldn’t believe what I read. They had written down every detail. Like how many times I went forward or if I came back to defend or if I shot at goal.
“This didn’t just cover normal games or friendly matches but also what I had done during training sessions.”
Socratis Papastathopoulos: Fact File
Date of Birth: 9.6.1988
Weight: 82 Kg
Position: Central Defence
Team: AEK Athens
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