Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ Arsenal contract was terminated by mutual consent on Wednesday having been frozen out of the first team picture by head coach Mikel Arteta.
The Greek wasn’t registered for the Premier League or Europa League during the first half of the campaign, and both parties opted to mutually end his stay at the club with his contract up in the summer.
During his time in north London, Sokratis made 69 appearances for the club and chipped in with six goals, and although he wasn’t a part of Arteta’s plans for 2020/21, the boss still described him as “such a professional” after news of his exit broke.
Arteta also elaborated on why he’d failed to make the cut for his 25-man squads, simply stating that the Gunners have “a lot of central defenders” and given they are “overloaded with foreign players”, he had no choice but to exclude him.
Now, the 32-year old, who had already been linked with a number of clubs once the transfer window opened at the beginning of the month, is free to move on immediately and hopefully, for his sake, get back to playing regular football.
Speaking on the Chronicles of a Gooner podcast, Fabrizio Romano confirmed to 90min what some of his options are, even referencing a past offering to Liverpool – who have been struck by a number of injuries to key defenders this season.
Here’s where he could go now that the north London shackles are off.
Sokratis is no stranger to Genoa, having previously made 59 appearances for I Rossoblu.
Romano confirmed that the club have contacted him again and are “still interested in signing Papastathopoulos”, even though they’ve managed to tie up a deal for highly-rated centre back Jerome Onguéné from Salzburg.
Sokratis has plied his trade in the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga before, but has yet to step foot in Spain and play in La Liga.
That could change though if Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis decide to pursue a slight interest in the Greek international. Romano confirmed that the Seville based club are an “option”, but stopped short of saying any talks had been held and if they had, how far things had proceeded.
Genoa aren’t the only club who have been linked with a move for Sokratis, as steadily impressive Lazio are also keen.
Romano stated that “”Lazio are considering to move for a centre-back because they had a problem with Luiz Felipe” and they are looking at “Sokratis as a possibility” because of that.
Playing at the Stadio Olimpico under Simone Inzaghi would likely stand out as Sokratis’ preferred option, but he may not be guaranteed a regular starting berth when injuries have cleared up.
Romano didn’t touch on interest from Olympiacos, but the Greek giants have been touted as potential suitors.
A return to his homeland could suit Sokratis now he’s heading into the twilight of his career, and would likely result in more frequent and regular starting opportunities than he’d get in mainland Europe.
Likewise, Fenerbahce’s interest wasn’t touched upon by Romano, but the Turkish giants – who have all but completed the signing of Mesut Ozil following the termination of his Arsenal contract – are also in the mix.
The Premier League does tend to send a number of 30+ players to Turkey once their peak days are over, so Sokratis being linked with a move should perhaps hold no surprise.