Sokratis Papastathopoulos free to find new club after Arsenal contract cancelled

Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
·2 min read

Arsenal have cancelled defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ contract by mutual consent.

The 32-year-old joined the north London club from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 for an undisclosed fee and went on to make 69 appearances.

Sokratis helped Mikel Arteta’s men win the FA Cup last August – with the final against Chelsea proving to be the Greece international’s last first-team appearance for Arsenal.

In a statement, the Gunners said: “Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent.

“This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible.”

Sokratis was out of contract at the Emirates Stadium this summer and technical director Edu sent his thanks to the departing defender.

“On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club,” Edu said.

“He has been an important part of our group and has been a model professional throughout. The negotiations to end his contract have been collaborative and we wish Papa and his family well for the future.”

Mesut Ozil is set to follow Sokratis out of Arsenal, with the playmaker in Turkey ahead of a move to Fenerbahce.

Sead Kolasinac has joined Schalke on loan and William Saliba will spend the rest of the campaign at Nice.

Arsenal later issued a fitness update on Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari.

Midfielder Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, had missed the 3-0 home win over Newcastle on Monday night with a tight calf, but could come back into contention for the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Southampton.

Spanish defender Mari is “progressing well from a mild calf strain” and expected to make a return to training next week.

Mari last played in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Newcastle on January 9.