Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla has claimed that Napoli are interested in raiding Arsenal for defender Sokratis this summer after missing out on Jan Vertonghen – though a deal will not affect a move for Gabriel.
Vertonghen, 33, was available on a free transfer this summer after his eight-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur came to an end. Napoli were one of many sides interested in the Belgian, but he chose to join Benfica.
It leaves Napoli in search of a new central defender. Gennaro Gattuso is keen to bring in two centre-backs, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic expected to leave the Serie A side.
Gabriel is being eyed as one replacement – though Arsenal are also strongly linked. Now, the two interested parties could do a deal of their own, with Napoli keen on Sokratis. The Greek veteran has entered the final year of his deal.
Sokratis, 32, joined Arsenal in 2018 for £16million (Telegraph) and has since played 69 times. But he has fallen down the pecking order and Napoli are keen. A deal for Sokratis would not affect Napoli’s interest in Gabriel.
TBR’s view – Arsenal have got to cash in on Sokratis
Even if he was not in the final year of his contract, Arsenal should cash in. Sokratis has been disappointing in an Arsenal shirt over the past 12 months – and has fallen behind David Luiz, Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi.
But the fact he is in the final year of his current deal means Arsenal have got to let him go, even if a fee is pretty nominal. Getting him off the wage bill and a wedge of cash for Sokratis is crucial.