New Arsenal signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos has revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spent plenty of time convincing him to move to the Emirates Stadium.
Papastathopoulos, 30, completed his transfer from Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee on Monday afternoon – becoming the club’s third signing since Unai Emery replaced Arsene Wenger as boss in May.
The Greece international defender played alongside both Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang at Dortmund – with the pair joining the Gunners in January.
The fact three players who used to call Westfalenstadion their home have linked up with Arsenal in the past six months is in no small part down to Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.
The Premier League club shook up their recruitment team over the course of last season as head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and Mislintat were brought in.
Mislintat was appointed from a similar role at Dortmund and has clearly used his prior knowledge to now snare another player from the Bundesliga club – with Papastathopoulos admitting he was in frequent contact with his former BVB team-mates.
“They said to me the best things about this club, that it is one big family and of course they also called me not every day but a lot of times telling me to come here.
“Yes it’s a little bit (strange) but it’s also very beautiful that I’ve come to one team but I also have two players who I was together with for a lot of years. I know them both very well and I’m very happy.”
Papastathopoulos follows Stephan Lichtsteiner and Bernd Leno in moving to Arsenal ahead of the new campaign.
Capped 79 times by Greece, the ex-AC Milan and Werder Bremen man insists he will do whatever it takes to help his new side keep clean sheets in the coming seasons, having signed a “long-term” deal at Arsenal.
“I think that a defender first has to defend, to protect the goal, and then after if he can help in front a little bit for the game, then it’s good,” he added.
“But first of all, he has to defend. I’m a normal defender who likes to defend.
There is likely to be more business at Arsenal before transfer deadline day on August 9.
Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira has been heavily linked with a switch to the club, while some squad players could be moved on following the release of midfielders Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere and Per Mertesacker’s retirement.