Arsenal set to sign 20-year-old Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos
• Mavropanos set to join Premier League side for a fee of £1.9m
• Young centre-back expected to be sent out on loan
Arsenal are set to sign the Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina for a fee of £1.9m (€2.1m). The 20-year-old has travelled to London to complete the move this week.
Mavropanos is regarded as one of the best defenders to emerge in Greece in the past 10 years. He made his debut in the Greek Super League for PAS Giannina as an 18-year-old in November 2016 and has made 20 appearances for the team in all competitions.
It is not thought the 20-year-old will challenge for a place in Arsenal’s starting XI and may be loaned out, possibly to a Bundesliga club, to gain more experience.
Antonis Nikopolidis, the former Greece international goalkeeper who is the Greece Under-21 coach, told the Guardian he believes the young defender has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.
“He has a lot of potential,” Nikopolidis said. “He is young and very strong. His physicality is a big asset and essential for him to be successful in the Premier League. He’s a player who is constantly developing, and he has made tremendous progress over the last few years.
“Apart from being very strong, he is also very effective in the air, relatively quick and a player with great personality. He is a work in progress and I am sure Arsenal will be able to develop him even more.”
Greek defenders are in demand at the moment with Sokratis Pastastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Kostas Manolas (Roma) and Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Hamburg) already established at top European clubs while Panagiotis Retsos joined Bayer Leverkusen for £15.75m, a record fee for a Greek player.
Mavropanos is still young and Nikopolidis says he needs to improve to have a chance of playing for the Arsenal first team. “He must work hard on the tactical side of the game. It’s a totally different world waiting for him in England. He must improve – and will certainly do so – his control and his passing, and of course he needs to become much more efficient.
“So far he has played a lot in a 3-5-2 formation, having two central defenders next to him and in a defensively minded team. At Arsenal he will face totally different situations so he must work very hard on this to succeed.”