Arsenal have invested heavily in their squad this summer but the signing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund raised eyebrows.
The 30-year-old arrived as Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat’s latest former Dortmund man at the Emirates Stadium, following the captures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January, but, unlike that pair, has not made waves.
Signed for a fee which The Guardian says is worth £17.7m, the experienced defender arrives as the third-most expensive player of Unai Emery’s five summer signings and has a long way to go if he is to prove himself with the Gunners.
In a pre-season clash with Chelsea in Dublin last night, Sokratis struggled against Maurizio Sarri’s side and the Greece international was singled out for criticism on social media – with many fans expressing they do not fancy him to be a decent acquisition.
The Gunners fell behind to Antonio Rudiger’s header and saw Petr Cech save a penalty against his former employers, before Alexandre Lacazette scored a last-gasp equaliser to set-up victory for Unai Emery’s side via a penalty shoot-out in Arsenal’s penultimate pre-season match.
With just over a week to go until Emery’s first Premier League game against defending champions Manchester City, fans have expressed their concerns about Sokratis’ performance and whether he should start against the Citizens.
However, other supporters gave their backing to the new arrival and believe he just needs time to develop a partnership with another centre-back who attracted criticism last term – Germany international Shkodran Mustafi.
With Laurent Koscielny injured for the beginning of the new campaign, Arsenal will need Sokratis to hit the ground running but the assessment from fans on social media suggests that he has a lot to prove in north London.
Here, we have assembled some of the best reactions from Arsenal supporters on Twitter.
Bro we bought Sokratis 16m. This guy is terrible
— Emery's Son (@donceelogy) August 1, 2018
I think I’d want Cal Chambers starting over Sokratis
— Simon Breeze (@Simon_Breeze) August 1, 2018
Sokratis and Mustafi played the high line in the first half and got it wrong a few times(Cech to rescue) but in the second half they got it right and caught Chelsea offside time and time again, it’s coming together it just needs a bit more time
— Next Generation AFC??? (@scoutingindoors) August 1, 2018
Must fix our defence before the season starts. I’m not convinced about Sokratis; think he will struggle in England. Bellerin great at getting forward but so wasteful with his final ball.
— FK ?? (@fkhanage) August 1, 2018
No one should be slacking off Sokratis today. He didn't make any mistakes. Chelsea's goal came from a rookie marking mistake by Smith Rowe, and he's a kid who doesn't need any negativity right now. Overall, there were so many positives in this game & fans should focus on that.
— Sensible Arsenal (@ArsenalSensible) August 1, 2018
We cannot start the season with this centre back partnership. Sokratis is fine, but Mustafi is still an incredible liability. Chambers or Dinos would be much better options to play alongside Sokratis against City.
— Dylan Walsh (@dylanwalsh_) August 1, 2018
Sokratis and Mustafi could be great partnership. Give them time for understanding each other on back 4
— Craig ??????? (@GoonerBhoys77) August 2, 2018