• Dan Tracey



While although the rebuild process at Arsenal is set to be a lengthy and difficult one, it seems as if Mikel Arteta is getting to work on the task in hand and with Mesut Ozil’s hefty salary now cleared off the books, the Gunners’ outgoings will have now lessened further.

That’s because there has been another recent departure from the club and although the decision to cancel Sokratis’ contract may be considered prudent, there is perhaps a sense of bad business here at the same time.

The Greek defender was very much a saleable asset over the course of the off-season and although the former Borussia Dortmund defender would only possess a year on what was his existing deal, some form of fee could have been commanded for his sale.

Admittedly, the transfer market is rather depressed at this present moment in time and the movement of personnel is not as easy as it was 12 months ago. Then again, the decision to keep Sokratis over the course of the summer, is one that now looks rather costly.

When you consider that the North London outfit paid £17.6m to acquire his services back in 2018, there is absolutely nothing in the way of pure return of investment. However, when it comes to transfer acumen, it is not all about finance.

A fairer measure will perhaps be the trophies that Sokratis helped win and although he and his teammates fell short in the 2019 Europa League final against Chelsea, better fortunes would be found in last season’s F.A. Cup final against Manchester City.

His Wembley contribution that evening, was just as important as any of his Arsenal teammates and after such a stellar performance, questions were asked as to why he seemingly fell so quickly out of favour.

Because, after making 19 league appearances last season, Sokratis has found himself in both the domestic and continental wilderness and therefore, quickly become someone who was surplus to requirements.

Not only that, but he was sitting at home collecting a rather large financial inducement for extraordinarily little effort and with this year’s January transfer window finally starting to be prised open, a mutual decision for his departure was subsequently made.

A decision that although heavily steeped in finance, also shows that manager Mikel Arteta is not afraid to be ruthless when it matters and although the legendary Arsene Wenger created a legacy at the club, he was perhaps guilty of hanging onto players for too long.

A scenario that the Arsenal board cannot afford to replicate under their current manager and with the club already having to take out a £120m Bank of England loan, any opportunity in which to cut costs will be taken advantage of.

As for the man who has just been shown the exit door, the obvious question is what happens next for Sokratis? At 32 years of age, he will still have something to offer and don’t be surprised if he finds a new employer before the end of the month.