EPL

Sokratis leaves Arsenal for free as club agrees to terminate contract

By Sports Desk January 20, 2021

Sokratis Papastathopoulos has left Arsenal after agreeing to terminate his contract with the club.

The defender has not made a Premier League appearance since March 7 last year and has not featured in a matchday squad in any competition in 2020-21.

The 32-year-old is now free to speak to other clubs, with Sevilla, Real Betis and Genoa among those said to be interested.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Sokratis said: "One of the most enjoyable times in my career ended today.

"It has been an honour to wear the Arsenal shirt and I want to thank all the coaches, team-mates, staff and fans around the world for the love and respect they have given me.

"I gave everything for Arsenal and Arsenal also gave me a lot. I wish you all the best health and success always. Thank you."

Arsenal technical director Edu said: "On behalf of Mikel [Arteta], our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club.

"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."

Sokratis, whose deal had been due to expire at the end of the season, joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018.

He made 69 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, reaching the Europa League final in 2019 and winning the FA Cup last year.

In his time at the club, Sokratis won 57 tackles, 158 aerial duels and 314 duels, as well as making 248 clearances. Only Shkodran Mustafi ranks higher among Gunners defenders in that time.

Related items

  • Juventus complete permanent €18.5m signing of Weston McKennie Juventus complete permanent €18.5m signing of Weston McKennie

    Juventus have completed the permanent signing of Weston McKennie from Schalke for a further initial fee of €18.5million.

    The United States international signed on a season-long loan for a fee of €4.5m last August.

    The 22-year-old has impressed in his first few months with the Serie A champions, scoring five goals in 31 appearances in all competitions, including in the 3-0 Champions League win away to Barcelona.

    His five goals in Serie A have already made him the leading American scorer in the history of Italy's top flight.

    On Wednesday, Juve announced McKennie had signed a four-year contract. The €18.5m will be paid to Schalke over three years and could rise by a further €6.5m in variables.

    "Weston McKennie's adventure with the Juventus shirt started very well and, as they say, the numbers don't lie," Juve said in announcing the deal.

    "Wes has proven to be a very important resource for coach [Andrea] Pirlo, having already put his signature on important performances and goals. It's impossible not to think about his goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou, or the one in the Derby della Mole – his first in the black and white jersey.

    "It's also important to note that he is also the youngest midfielder in this league with at least four goals, as well as the best American scorer in Serie A history. In six of the goals he has actively participated in (four goals and two assists), Juventus have always won.

    "It's because of this, that as of today, he has become an outright Juventus player, with the club having made the move permanent from Schalke."

  • Alisson, Fabinho back in contention for Liverpool with Jota not far behind despite illness Alisson, Fabinho back in contention for Liverpool with Jota not far behind despite illness

    Alisson and Fabinho are back in contention for Liverpool ahead of Thursday's clash with Chelsea, and Diogo Jota could potentially return if he manages to shake off an illness.

    Brazil international goalkeeper Alisson missed the 2-0 weekend win at Sheffield United following the death of his father, with Adrian deputising at Bramall Lane.

    It was not immediately clear how long Alisson would be absent for, but Klopp confirmed on Wednesday that he has trained all week and is in line to face Chelsea at Anfield.

    Alisson's international colleague Fabinho has also been out lately, missing each of Liverpool's previous four matches across all competitions due to a muscular injury.

    He will return to the squad as well on Thursday, though Klopp was a little less certain regarding Jota, who has not played since damaging knee ligaments in December.

    However, the doubt surrounding the former Wolves star only relates to a stomach complaint, rather than a setback with his knee.

    "Ali trained full week, so yes, we should expect he is ready to return," Klopp told reporters. "Fab has now five or six sessions in his legs, we have to make a decision about how we deal with that, but he looks good, he's ready for squad for sure.

    "And Diogo had now a little stomach problem, or whatever you can say. He trained yesterday only a little bit – he was only out there for the warm-up, rondo and a little run, so…

    "We got the message this morning that he feels better so we'll see what we can do with that. Before, he was doing exceptionally well but unfortunately got ill overnight and now we have to see how big the steps are that he can make towards the team again."

    Fabinho has played much of the season away from his natural role in midfield, instead filling in as a centre-back such has been Liverpool's struggle with injuries.

    Klopp was unsure whether he will be required at centre-back again, though he made no secret of how important he felt it would be to restore some familiarity to the midfield.

    "Both [Fabinho in defence and midfield] is possible, which is good, it gives us options," he said. "If we can find a way to play him in midfield, that would be helpful.

    "Our most consistent player this season is probably [Georginio] Wijnaldum, touch wood and long may it continue. He's played as a number six and pretty much all other positions, but with Fab in as a six would be helpful in some games. We will see. Both positions are intense.

    In the past we had to play the players when they came back immediately because another player left pitch injured the game before, this time we don't have to do that.

    "That's the first time, maybe. There's still a lot of games to come, so we'll see - is Fab close enough to start or is he only ready for the bench? Then which positions. These decisions are still to be made, though even if I had made them already, I wouldn't tell you exactly what my decision was."

  • LeBron James to miss first game this season after Lakers defeat LeBron James to miss first game this season after Lakers defeat

    LeBron James will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, his first absence of the NBA season.

    The Lakers fell to a 114-104 home loss against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, despite 38 points from James, who was an impressive 16-for-24 from the field.

    Defending champions the Lakers have lost five of their past seven games as injuries begin to pile up.

    James was listed as probable to play ahead of the Phoenix game with a left ankle sprain suffered earlier in the season.

    He will now sit out of the second game of a back-to-back when the Lakers travel to take on the Kings.

    After having a rest and receiving some treatment, it is still expected James will play in his 17th straight All-Star Game on Sunday.

    With Anthony Davis already ruled out, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol missed out against the Suns.

    "We play so well the last two games, we get back into a rhythm, and then we find out [on the day of the game] that two of our big guns were out," James said after the game, per ESPN.

    "It is definitely deflating, especially when you were playing poorly [losing four in a row] and then you get in a good rhythm [with two wins]."

    Missing time will not sit well with James, who last month insisted he did not believe in rest amid calls for him to be given a breather to cope with a gruelling schedule.

    Despite their recent struggles, the Lakers are third in the Western Conference at 24-12, just behind the Suns (23-11).

    Lakers coach Frank Vogel added: "I'm happy with how we are competing. 

    "Our guys are giving great effort and great hustle and great fight. You understand there is a big picture here, and guys are keeping the big-picture mindset."

    The surging Suns won despite an ejection for star shooting guard Devin Booker, who had 17 points before being removed in the third quarter.

    Dario Saric had 21 points off the bench, 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter.

    James, 36, is averaging 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season, his third with the Lakers.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.