Sven Mislintat raids Dortmund with Sébastien Squillaci like move

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Reports coming out of Germany today that the club is looking to bolster experience in defence again with the signing of 29-year-old Dortmund centre-back, Sokratis. I can’t say this signing makes me weak at knees, and I’m not really sure he’s adding levels to our game. I keep looking at the signings we’re making through the prism of culture building, versus seeing them purely as elite level talent hires.

The club appear to be looking beyond just the on-the-field dimensions with these names, they’re signing parts that they’re missing from a culture/leadership perspective. Now, it’s pretty clear that the Greek isn’t a world class addition, so he must be bringing something else to the table? Maybe he’s a solid leader, maybe he’s good with young players, maybe he’s a Remi Garde like signing? The more seasoned Frenchman was brought to Arsenal to help the young French players at the club acclimate. He was like a mentor type figure in a largely English setup.

The Greek is he looks every inch like we’ve signed Squillaci MKII. He’s bit of a journeyman, he’ll be 30 by the start of the season, he’s being signed as an experienced stop gap.

It’s very hard for players to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, especially when they’ve come over from a slower league with a winter break. The Greek is a ball playing defender who was listed as one of the best in the Bundesliga in January 2017 by Kicker. Tuchel liked him because he could play the ball and extinguish problems early (a bit like peak Koscielny would do), so it’s clear Arsenal are opting for a technical defender who can help us play out of the back, I’d also say they fear that Koscielny won’t be back for quite a while.

The comparison to old Seb reads unfair, but ultimately, he was a good player who’d played a CL final and for a top France team 21 times. One that was used to playing in proper systems and failed because Arsene didn’t protect defenders.

“You can see that from before my time and after my time. The style of play was a bit like Spain’s. It was very open, and often we found ourselves defending in the middle one on one with the opposition attackers. It was never easy. It was very attacking. But that was the club’s philosophy.

“I talked about it with coach Wenger. He told me, ‘I know it’s difficult, but I want us to play like this, I want the attacking players to have more freedom and less defensive work’.”

Emery is going to give everyone a chance to survive at Arsenal, because he’ll give the defence more structure and purpose, and he’ll also make sure the rest of the team is working for them. The setup might become more than the sum of its parts under the new regime.

Also, when you read around the background of the player, he has a lot of very good press. He’s played under Klopp, Tuchel and Allegri. So he knows how to play in a fluid system. He was also chosen to be the captain of Athens at 19 years old, before being picked out as a bit of a warrior at Dortmund. This extract from the Bundesliga magazine was also pretty hopeful.

Though he did not fully establish himself as first-choice until Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in 2015, his first two campaigns with Die Schwarzgelben still brought 43 starts and a formidable 66 percent of challenges won. His promotion came at the expense of Subotic, and since the 2016 departure of Hummels for Bayern, Sokratis has been the undisputed general of Dortmund’s rearguard action, a billing he has lived up to famously.

His 69 percent ‘challenges won’ ratio this season has been a major part in helping BVB enjoy a clean sheet tally in double figures, an admirable achievement given the gung-ho nature of his team, particularly under Peter Bosz. In the top 10 for touches this season — level with Naldo and just behind Hummels — Sokratis’ 90 percent pass completion means he is just as important in getting his own side moving forward as he is in stopping BVB’s rivals doing the same. And it is not just because referees fear writing his full name — Sokratis Papastathopoulos — that he has received just three five cards this season as his play includes more finesse than his nightclub doorman 6’1″ frame would suggest.

If we’re bringing in a younger player to bring a bit of wow (Caglar Soyuncu), then I can live with this signing. I just hope the extent of Diamond Eyes talent isn’t rooting out deals from Dortmund. It looks like comfort behaviour or a lack confidence in new decisions. We’ve signed Auba, Mikki and likely Sokratis. Even Mavrapanos was a signing he identifiued at his old club. Time to remove ourselves from the soft teet of the German club and move in on a new chapter…


So far it seems we’re getting our less than spectacular signings out the way first. Lichensteiner and Sokratis are squad filler, versus players we’re going to truly build around, but if they have the right attitude, combined with a fighting spirit, it certainly gives us a little more balance at the back experience wise.

Also, regardless of what you think of the quality of the names, we’re doing business quickly for once. I don’t think we’ll be looking at our squad at the end of July wondering what the f*cking going on. We have a plan, we’re going hard at it, and there will be no excuses centred around the terrors of money and modern football come the start of the season.

Hopefully, Sven brings a little more creativity to some of the additional signings.

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Emery won’t even be getting much of a chance to show how good/bad he is,our recruitment will affect him negatively.SIgning 29 yr old and above players who are in decline when the club desperately needs a rebuild.Post era wenger is going to be much worse.

Guns of Sf

Sokratis might have a good year or 2. I agree that we need a younger rebuild. Im on about Nzonzi as he has Emery experience and will not break our budget. Its a stop gap measure to help the team build . A good first step. He also has prem exp.

Guns of Sf

liverpool just made the CL final and got beat. Today they sign 2 players. Talk bout being prepared. We exited a few weeks back. Come on… Too fucking slow for me. A main target should have been bought by now. It we have 70M fuck me…. im getting the one player asap that we need. Possibly 2. Sokratis is sounding more confusing. I know the team thinks we need more “Experience in defense, but you dont need a 34 or 29 year old for that all the time. I also am worried we are going to have to address this… Read more »

Guns of Sf


just read that Nzonzi is 6’5


From the mirror
‘Jose Mourinho fears Gareth Bale would cost a staggering £335million to sign from Real Madrid.

The freshly-crowned European champions are making it clear they would want an incredible £200m for Bale and the Welsh superstar — whose two goals, one a stunning bicycle kick, beat Liverpool in Saturday’s final — is on £650,000-a-week at the Bernabeu.

Poor united. They really should’ve let City take Alexis and kept all the money for Gareth Bale. Even they can’t afford Bale.
It c an’t be true that he earns 650k weekly.

Guns of Sf

Bales best days are behind him. He will get crocked in the EPL again.
United have Sanchez to figure out…. he has another bad season and I can see him being sold.


The real question which needs to be asked of Kroenke and the current management is are the club going for short term solutions by bringing in players like Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and possibly Sokratis all mature players who were 28/29 at point of transfer or does the club go for acquisitions in the 23-26 age group with better long term potential? The latter is the route that most of our competitors in EPL have adopted. What does concern me is that Liverpool have recruited two young defensive/ central midfielders at moderate transfer fees who are the type of players Arsenal should… Read more »

Guns of SF

That’s what the frustrating part is is that we had the resources to go after those players but we did not .then we try to do this late bid to get it over the line which is so typical Arsene Wenger


“Liverpool may have some pedigree, but realistically Arsenal with the right
management in recent years should have been more than capable of competing with them financially”
This saith the sage of Legrove who actively advocated that we keep Sanchez and Ozil against their wills.
Liverpool are still spending the proceeds of their Coutinho sale.
We are paying for out poor planning under Wenger. Not buying good talent, being insular in scouting, overpaying dross and not being decisive in selling players who refuse to extend contracts.



The issue is not “management and retention” of current players, but the acquisition of new players.

You do not sell your best players unless you replace them with an upgrade.


It’s beginning to show how much damage Wenger did.
We have had no real good players in sensitive positions for too long. Goalkeeper[Cech was a fluke but ended up being shit], Defedner to really compliment Lolo, DM. We have good attackers but even now no real winger.

This just shows why we have been dogshit cos we’ve had no real spine lately.



The real problem at Arsenal was not so much keeping players against their will, but the lack of ambition and failure to improve the team by Wenger and his team of coaches.

Also as one competing manager pointed out recently “the slowness” of Arsenal’s transfer negotiations, which resulted too often in losing out to more proactive clubs.



in that case you should start pining for Usmanov who you have a low opinion of. We spend what we get under Kroenke remember?



I am certainly not pining over Usmanov. Arsenal does not need another Roger
Levitt situation.


Usmanov may well find himself in a similar situation to Abramovich with potential delay or rejection of visa application.

The difference is that Abramovich has now secured Israeli nationality, which now allows him to enter UK on short term basis up to 6 months without visa.

Usmanov does not have that opportunity and for the record is prevented from entering the USA.


ES “You do not sell your best players unless you replace them with an upgrade.” Look how that worked out for us! We should have sold both Sanchez & Ozil when we first realised that they were not going to be renewing their contracts, then we would have had Coutinho money to spend. So far I’m not impressed with the Ivan, Sven & Raul show (the latter 2 who were fired from their last jobs) when you compare them to their Liverpool counterparts. I’m not swooning here, just royally pissed off. If the incoming manager was never going to have… Read more »

Guns of SF

Always nice to have your home team do well! congrats to my golden state warriors making the nba finals 4’years in a row!
Go dubs!


Nice post, Tony. The goings on behind the scenes at the club have been opaque at best these last few years. We can only look at what has been happening on the pitch and financially, and both have been underwhelming. Ivan now has the club on his shoulders, so he will now live or die by what we achieve over the next couple of seasons. I think most people are underestimating the work needed with the squad after the mess Wenger left. Our most remunerated player is at best flaky and unreliable, our midfield shockingly lame and our defence Championship… Read more »


Nothing wrong with these signings, they are very astute.
Both players instantly add experience and a solid back line.
Lichtenstein will be a mentor and cover for Belerin, Sokratis is the mentor for Dinos, and possibly Soyuncu, if he signs.
A 6’2″ and 6’3″ CB pairing mentored by an old pro and refined by Emery.
This is a calculated plan to progress our young players and give them years of experience.
This is a wonder move for the club.


Though on paper the Liverpool signings look decent, I feel that we have been here many times previously when other teams have made signings and you get the usual Posters on here building up teams like spurs when they used the bale money and bought a pile of crap, man Utd buying Di Maria, de pay, martial, Shaw, fellaini… Flopped…… Liverpool when they spent the saurez money…. Flopped. Let’s wait and see… To me, it’s the teams that have a bottomless pit of money who will always succeed because they can afford to make mistakes in the transfer market.. Over… Read more »



Our lack of sales is coming bite us in the backside. Its something we always did well. Could have sold Alexis for ~80m in summer of 2016, got decent fees for Ox, Jack in same summer. The Chilean is a very good player, but he wasn’t going to win us the title. The two English we’re fringe players for us. Imagine recouping twice the Chamberlain fee Pool paid last summer for the both of them? That would have given us 150m to spend. I know it’s only a couple of yrs ago, but that was big money back then.



“Can you imagine if the manager were …Mikel Arteta strutting around London Colney with Pep’s blessings?”

But we didn’t, give it a rest dude. You were the same idiot you claimed no top coach would agree to work with the ‘untested/inexperienced’ trio of Ivan, Sven and Raul. LoL


We now have sleeves sponsor which is more money for the club but some clueless bitches are moaning they don’t find “Visit Rwanda” fancy enough. Oh dear!


Tony D I cannot disagree with concerns about the age of players being recruited, because I expressed similar concerns in January with recruitment of two players aged 28 and 29 respectively who will have no resale value. However, I accepted at the time that Arsenal were over a barrel last season with 4 players leaving potentially in summer on Bosman and we had little option in the matter. The current negotiations for Sokratis and Lichtensteiner do concern me because we are recruiting again players with no resale value in contrast to most of our competitors who are buying younger players.… Read more »


To clarify the monies which I believe are available.

1. Lacazette was covered last summer by our annual sponsorship budget.
2. We sold players in last financial period for approximately £108 million and
spent just under £60 million on Aubameyang and Mavropanos. That leaves
around £40 million.
3. Our commercial sponsorship from Emirates and new sleeve sponsor adds
around £20 million per year to club revenues.


Dream 10 I can see what you’re getting at but your figures are way off. Getting over 40 million for ox was good business, getting 80 million for him was not plausible. Jack, because of his injuries, maybe 10 million we could have got for him. Only time will tell but the sanchez /mihkatarhan deal may prove to be a great swap for us.. Admittedly we could have received a big fee for sanchez,maybe 60 million, but we would have still had to replace him with a big signing… Mkhitarayan may prove to be a great signing, I like him… Read more »


Pierre Interesting post at 7.44am. I started to draughtba comment yesterday and couldn’t get the wording to reflect my thoughts your post for me near enough hits the nail on the head. The only point I would make is that it’s a bit of a myth to suggest that Spurs have numbers of academy products in their first team , indeed last season by my reconning that had just 3 academy players feature in league games. Kane who started 35 games, Winks, 9 and Walker Davis 2. Some would claim the likes of Danny Rose were academy products but he… Read more »



Draxler made about the same appearances as Lo Celso did.

If we’re to say that then the next question is who played as the more attacking player from the 3man midfielders?


Dream 10 “Our lack of sales is coming bite us in the backside. Its something we always did well” Our lack of sale have been very poor for 6/7 years that is why our net spend looks so poor…. Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea I believe have spent more but their net spend is lower due to out going transfer fees. Only time will tell who is to blame for the poor transfer activity and contract negotiations…. If Wenger was allowed all the power regarding transfer and negotiations the blame should still party lie with the owner /board give for allowing… Read more »


Good post, Tony.

You raised some valid points there.

Similarly to you, fully behind Emery – just hope our transfer approach isn’t being considered using a broader perspective

Receding hairline

Once I saw the fabinho thing I knew some on here will find a way to moan about it. Yea Liverpool are signing players…good for them. Just take your eyes off the fence and focus on what is happening here in our team. If at the end of the season you do not feel any real progress has been made..and yes the word is progress not trophies.. Liverpool who you admire have not won any either nor has Spurs…then you can moan. Fabinho is not the only midfielder in world football. We can always sign others. Kante didn’t arrive in… Read more »


You’re right… Kyle walker, dier, deli Alli, Rose all arrived at the club as teenagers so spurs must have had a very good scouting system at that time…. Pochettino was fortunate that someone before him had put the wheels in motion though I will say that Pochettino deserves some credit for his part in developing those players.


Pierre As I wrote earlier today are Arsenal going for short term solutions by bringing in players like Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Sokratis and Lichtensteiner who are all good player, but with limited shelf life and no resale value beyond current contract. Or do you buy players who have proven themselves in the age group 23-26 and will be improvable and have a resale value? Personally I am not enthusiastic in spending mega bucks on teenagers. There are very few who justify the transfer fee some clubs are prepared to pay. It is often pure speculation. I do think that Messrs Gazidis,… Read more »

Cesc Appeal

The links to players like Praet and Forsberg are interesting.

Clearly from our efforts at stealing Fabinho we want a CDM, and Seri and Pellegrini also are not really creative types in the same way as Praet and Forsberg, so is there something big happening in terms of an outgoing that we don’t know about?

Mkhitaryan has talked up Emery and seems an Emery player, could it be Ozil then leaving and a reshaping of the team?

I want to see how Ramsey does under Emery, but losing Ozil would be great.


Can’t see the logic in signing many oap s

Bit of a desperate move imo

Still tho to early to judge .

I. Sure there’s a plan



Would the club know how many teams were intrestered in ozil when his previous contract was coming to an end…

So if they signed him up on massive contract they would know if he was sellable

Personally I can’t see anyone paying big money first for him an then his wages

It’s a dream but he will stay

Do One Gambon

Bit late… Been out of wifi on hold.

Anyways how can you call sokratis ‘bit of s journeyman’ when he’s been at Dortmund for about 8 years?…

Sort it out pedders