Napoli want Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos without paying transfer fee

Sokratis of Arsenal poses for photos with the trophy after the FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 01, 2020 in London, England.

Arsenal centre-back Sokratis is attracting interest from Napoli, according to reports in Italy. 

The Greek defender has entered the final year of his contract and has fallen down the pecking order in Mikel Arteta’a side. 

Sokratis didn’t feature once for the Gunners after the restart, with Arteta preferring to use David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Kieran Tierney in a back three.

With the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille, the Gunners now have nine centre-backs on their books, including Konstantinos Mavropanos, who has been sent out on a season-long loan to VfB Stuttgart. 

Arsenal may need to slim down their squad to raise funds for their summer signings and according to Sky Italy, Sokratis is one of the defenders that could be cut loose.

The report states that Serie A giants Napoli are in the market for a centre-back and they are interested in the 32-year-old. 

However, they are hoping for a scenario in which they can attain the centre-back without paying a transfer fee. 

Napoli lost out to Arsenal on Gabriel, while Manchester City are strongly linked with a move for their star defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Meanwhile Rob Holding is reportedly close to joining Newcastle United on a season-long loan. However, Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn believes that between Holding, Sokratis, Mustafi and Calum Chambers, Holding is the one most worth keeping.

“I think there’ll be more than one of them going, because Arsenal have got a host of centre-halves and it may come down to which players are going to be limited in appearances going forward,” Winterburn told Bookmakers.co.uk last month.

“Age may come in to it too – all of those players will be looking at the situation and wondering how often they’re going to be playing and what their chances of being a first choice are. 

“And if not, are they happy to sit on the bench and wait for opportunities? The one player out of the four that I think might be worth holding on to is Rob Holding.

“Up until his injury I would have said he was Arsenal’s most consistent defender, but he’s struggled to get back to full fitness and get that consistency back.”
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