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Arsenal confirms capture of BVB back Sokratis

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Arsenal has a new No. 5, as Unai Emery brings another former Borussia Dortmund man to the Emirates Stadium.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos — you can just called him Sokratis — is the latest player to join the Emery revolution in North London.

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The 30-year-old center back has 79 caps for Greece, and a reported $24 million price tag.

He brings consistency, if not stardom, to Arsenal’s back line, and is reunited with former BVB stars Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Sokratis joins Stephan Lichtsteiner and Bernd Leno, and is not the only Greek on the roster. Konstantinos Mavropanos joined the club last season.

He spent five seasons with Borussia Dortmund, making a career-high 43 appearances this season. Sokratis won Serie A with AC Milan in 2010-11.

Report: Arsenal set to add $21m Sokratis from Dortmund

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Unai Emery is set to acquire one of the first piece of Arsenal’s necessary defensive revolution.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos is the piece, a mainstay of Borussia Dortmund’s back line who will cost the Gunners around $21 million according to the Independent’s Jack Pitt-Brooke.

The 79-times capped Greek center back turns 30 in June, having authored 198 appearances since arriving from Genoa.

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Only BVB goalkeeper Roman Burki played more Bundesliga minutes for the club this season.

From The Independent:

Mislintat knows 29-year-old Sokratis well from his own time at Dortmund and now Arsenal are in advanced negotiations to bring him to the Emirates. Arsenal initially offered roughly £13m but they are expected to meet Dortmund’s asking price of £16m to complete the deal this week. Sokratis has one year left on his Dortmund contract and is eager to join Arsenal.

Emery went with a four-man back line for much of his time at Paris Saint-Germain, and has to decide whether Laurent Koscielny can bounce back from a rough campaign.

Sokratis would join countryman Konstantinos Mavropanos, the 20-year-old who was Mislintat’s first signing at Arsenal, as well as Koscielny, Shkrodan Mustafi, Calum Chambers, and Rob Holding.

Report: Arteta, Arsenal to meet on Thursday

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Arsenal could have its successor to Arsene Wenger by the end of the week.

That’s if talks with former Gunners midfielder and current Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta go well.

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Already reported as a clear favorite for the job, Arteta will speak with the Gunners brass on Thursday. Sky Sports also says he’d be allowed to bring his own backroom staff.

Pep Guardiola won’t stand in the way of his assistant moving up in the Premier League world, and it would certainly be interesting to see how Arteta would attack and defend his former side.

When Arteta retired from Arsenal in 2016, he was a teammate of several current Gunners’ stars including Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal.

Meanwhile, the Metro is reporting that Arsenal is ready to spend $102 million on Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu, Borussia Dortmund center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Dortmund goes top with a little help from VAR (video)

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Borussia Dortmund took out its angst from a midweek loss to Spurs at Wembley by hammering Koln at the Westfalenstadion on Sunday.

BVB got a bit of help from Video Assistant Referee on its second goal of the 5-0 blowout, which kept Koln dead-last on the table with zero points.

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos made the score 2-0 in first half stoppage time, though the referee initially blew the whistle at the thought of a handball from Sokratis.

VAR reversed the call, and Dortmund went on to win 5-0. BVB is back atop the Bundesliga with 10 goals scored and the side is yet to concede in league play.

Maximilian Philipp and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both recorded braces for Peter Bosz’s BVB, while USMNT teen Christian Pulisic came on for Andriy Yarmolenko in the 66th minute.

Dortmund players treated “like animals” in decision to play Monaco

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Borussia Dortmund players showed an unbreakable spirit in returning to the field of play 24 hours after an explosion hit their team bus and injured defender Marc Bartra, ultimately falling to Monaco in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League first-leg clash, 3-2.

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After the game, various Dortmund players and manager Thomas Tuchel spoke of the emotions they were forced to deal with since Tuesday evening and through the 90 minutes at Signal Iduna Park. Some of the quotes are… heartbreaking, and should serve as a reminder that at the end of the day, footballers are human being just like the rest of us.

The decision to reschedule the fixture on such a short turnaround was clearly an issue for everyone associated with the club, as UEFA made the decision without consideration for their mental state.

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Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos — quotes from ESPN FC:

“I am happy first that I am alive. It was the most difficult day that I have lived in my life and I hope that nobody else has to live this day. After yesterday I don’t have any more space to think about the game.

“They [UEFA] have to understand that we are not animals. We are people who have families, who have kids in the house. And we are not animals. I am happy that all the players are alive, and all the staff are alive.

“It is very difficult today to think to go and play football. For everybody, it is very difficult to go to work after yesterday. I hope that what happened to us, never happens to anyone else. I hope that was the last time.”

“We will speak with our president and with our coach. But we don’t have any solutions. I feel like what I said before: I feel like an animal and not like a person. Who doesn’t live this can’t understand how big it was for us.”

Midfielder Nuri Sahin — quotes from ESPN FC:

“It is hard to talk about it and hard to find the right words. We saw a lot of times on TV and it was far away from us, even when it was in Istanbul which is in my country.

“Last evening we felt how it is to be in this situation. I don’t wish a feeling like this on anyone. I don’t know if people can understand this but until I was on the pitch in the second half I did not think about football to be honest.

“Last night I didn’t realise what happened and when I got home my wife and son were waiting in front of the door I felt how lucky we were. I know football is very important, we love football, we suffer with football and I know we earn a lot of money and have a privileged life but we are human beings, there is so much more than football in this world, last night we felt it.

“When I was on the bus last night, I can’t forget the faces, I will never forget those faces. I sit next to (Marcel) Schmelzer and I will never forget his face. It was unbelievable.”

Tuchel — quotes from the BBC:

“UEFA is eager to continue playing. Of course we have to keep it going, but we still want to be competitive. We do not want to use the situation as an excuse.

“We wished we would have had more time to deal with what happened, but someone in Switzerland decided we must play.”

“We let the players choose if they wanted to play. But this morning, we found that the training had done good, that it had made us think of something else.

“Everyone has their own way of reacting to events. The players had the choice not to play, but no one chose this option.”

UPDATE: UEFA have issued a statement in response to Tuchel’s claim that Dortmund weren’t consulted with regards to the decision to play the game on Wednesday.