Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has announced the club intend on signing Arsenal‘s out-of-favour Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Papastathopoulos, who joined the north London outfit in July 2018 for a reported £14 million from Borussia Dortmund, is out of contract next June and could be sold in this window to avoid a potential free transfer next summer.

Romano also mentioned that the club would be willing to offload their much-coveted Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly, should the appropriate bid arrive, and if that occurs, it could act as a catalyst for the Papastathopoulos deal.

The Greek’s 2019-20 Gunners campaign

The Greek centre-back started all but four league games up until January, but has lost his place under new manager Mikel Arteta, who took over in December.

The 32 year-old made just two appearances since the domestic campaign reconvened in June, both from the bench in the FA Cup, amassing a total of three minutes overall.

With the recent arrival of Gabriel Magalhães from Lille, Papastathopoulos will certainly fall down the pecking-order at the club. He has already played second-fiddle to David Luiz, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Shkodran Mustafi, and may have to assess his future elsewhere.

SSC Napoli v SS Lazio - Serie A
Photo by SSC NAPOLI/SSC NAPOLI via Getty Images

Kalidou Koulibaly factor

The Italian club have been the centre of much Premier League transfer attention, with Allan heading to Everton, (a move that is all but completed according to De Laurentiis) and Koulibaly appearing to be a target for several English top-flight sides.

However, it appears that Sokratis Papastathopoulos will likely be an addition to the Partenopei’s side, rather than a direct replacement for Koulibaly.

It remains to be seen whether the defender will be tempted by the Neapolitans’ interest, but with the opportunity to play in the Europa League and join compatriot Kostas Manolas and former Arsenal ‘keeper David Ospina, it could be the move Papastathopoulos requires to keep his career at the age of 32, alive.

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