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Predicting David Ornstein’s four sale candidates

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal FC applauds the home fans after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)

David Ornstein reported that Arsenal will listen to offers for a couple of centre-backs and a couple of central midfielders. Here, I predict who they might be.

Speaking The Ornstein and Chapman Podcast for The Athletic, reporter David Ornstein, who is famously plugged in regarding the goings-on at the Emirates, suggested that Arsenal will be busy this summer. He said the club will listen to offers for ‘a number of their centre-halves’ and ‘a couple of their central midfielders’. But who could those players be?

Here, I predict who those players could be.

Arsenal, Sokratis

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND – MARCH 02: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Portsmouth FC and Arsenal FC at Fratton Park on March 02, 2020, in Portsmouth, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Sokratis arrived at Arsenal nearly two years ago with the club in desperate need of a new central defender — nothing has changed there, then! However, having missed out on Champions League football for the second season in succession and invested in Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a new contract for Mesut Ozil, they had limited resources with which to sign one. Sokratis, who cost less than £20 million, was the ideal solution.

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The Greek defender was solid in his first season. Hard-nosed and aggressive, he provided a throwback defensive presence that the team has lacked in recent years. However, there are limitations. He is rather slow, especially against sharper attackers in tight spaces, his passing is horrendous, and he rarely looked comfortable when playing out from the back. A high line also does not suit his more caveman-like defensive approach.

This season, Sokratis has fallen out of favour. Since Mikel Arteta has taken over, he has started eight matches in all competitions. Only four came in the Premier League, including just one of the last six. He has also mostly been used at right-back, starting four matches there. With a year left on his contract and turning 32 in the summer, Arsenal will almost certainly look to offload Sokratis this summer.

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