Sokratis Papastathopoulos: Napoli interested in Arsenal defender

Arsenal beat Napoli to sign Gabriel from Lille for £27m

Sokratis Papastathopoulos
Image: Napoli are hoping to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos without paying a transfer fee

Napoli are interested in signing Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, according to Sky in Italy.

The Serie A club are hoping to negotiate a move for the 32-year-old which would not involve a transfer fee.

The former Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan defender has entered the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium.

Napoli are in the market for a central defender after losing out to Arsenal in the race to sign Gabriel from Lille.

Gabriel Magalhaes
Image: Arsenal beat Napoli to the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes

The Serie A side's star defender Kalidou Koulibaly has also been a long-term target for Manchester City.

Arsenal may also be willing to let Sokratis leave the club following the arrival of William Saliba, who spent last season on loan at St Etienne following his £27m signing from the French club last summer.

Centre-back Pablo Mari also made his move permanent from Flamengo earlier this summer.

Also See:

Transfer Talk: Arsenal's defence sorted for a decade?

Gabriel Magalhaes could form a defensive partnership with William Saliba at Arsenal for "the best part of 10 years", French football expert Jonathan Johnson told the Sky Sports Transfer Talk podcast.

"It would be a pairing of two very good, very promising central-defensive talents and potentially a partnership which could serve Arsenal for the best part of the next 10 years," he said.

"Saliba's season with St Etienne was mixed, obviously the Ligue 1 season was brought to a premature close because of the Covid crisis, he had a few injuries as well and it was a shame he was not granted the chance to play in the Coupe de France final before finishing his loan spell, it would have been a good way for him to go.

"But he's shown when he plays he has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, he is fulfilling quite a bit of that already, he has impressive maturity for his age, and I think he would pair well with Gabriel.

"Both will take a bit of time to get used to the Premier League but both are tailor-made for Premier League football. I do not think that process would take as long as it would with other foreign players."

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