Arsenal set to finalise defender deal as man gets closer to move

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Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopolous is getting ‘closer and closer’ to finalising a move to Napoli.

That’s what Il Mattino report today, providing the latest update in the Italian side’s pursuit of the Greek centre back.

Napoli have been linked with a move for several weeks, with them eyeing up a replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly should he end up at Manchester City at any point.

Earlier this week Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that the Arsenal man was among their targets, which was followed by claims that Sokratis was in ‘frequent contact’ with the Italian side.

Il Mattino back up suggestions that a deal is there to be done, stating that the ‘in-game is getting closer and closer’.

That’s because the Arsenal defender already has an agreement in place with Gennaro Gattuso, who he played alongside at AC Milan, to make the move.

There are two things in the way of it happening, though. First, there is Koulibaly, who Napoli need to get rid of before they can sanction Sokratis’ arrival.

There is also what happens with Arsenal. Sokratis has one year left on his deal at the Emirates, and the ‘liquidation’ of his contract is ‘required’ for him to arrive in Naples.

That is something the player seems to be handling, although it’s not made clear whether the Gunners are willing to sanction that.

It’s easy to imagine they are given Mikel Arteta is keen to clear out the squad and has plenty of centre backs at his disposal already but, as is always the case, money will likely be the determining factor.

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