Arsenal Close to Dortmund Defender Deal

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Laurent Koscielny pressed the self-destruct button on Thursday night and the resolve of the Arsenal hierarchy to strengthen their defence this summer.

The Europa League semi-final was the latest disaster from an Arsenal defence which specialises in undermining the chase for silverware this season. It’s led the head of recruitment Sven Mislintat to look at his old stomping ground for part of the solution.

The Daily Mail reports the north London club are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 29, a player the Gunners have been linked with for a number of summers.

German newspaper Bild claims Sokratis is the “next star away in the summer” with a fee of around £17.5m likely to trigger his release. The Greek defender moved to the Westfalenstadion from Werder Bremen in 2013, after spells with Genoa, AC Milan and his first professional club, AEK Athens.

While Shkodran Mustafi is frequently the target of criticism, Koscielny is equally error-prone with the slackness of Arsenal’s defence a major reason for Arsene Wenger’s premature departure from the club.

With 79 caps and close to 400 club appearances, the Greece international has the experience the Gunners desperately need if they are to compete for a place in the top four in the Premier League.