Arsenal new boy Konstantinos Mavropanos: All you need to know about the Greek defender
PUBLISHED: 16:57 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 04 January 2018
Arsenal boss confirmed the deal for Greek centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina has been all but rubber-stamped at his post-match press conference against Chelsea on Wednesday, for a fee believed to be in the region of £2m.
Wenger also confirmed the young defender would be immediately loaned out.
He said on Wednesday evening after the 2-2 draw with Antonio Conte’s Blues: “He is not ready to play for us yet”.
The Athens-born youngster is expected to become the Gunners first signing since the appointment of new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat before he joins German side Werder Bremen on loan for the rest of the 2017-18 season.
Gunner’s fans may not know too much about the 20-year-old so the Islington Gazette spoke to Costas Bratsos, a Greek sports journalist for Sport24.gr, to get the inside track on Mavropanos.
Bratsos revealed that 44-time Greek champions Olympiakos almost signed the defender, but Giannina’s owner stepped in to stop any deal, allowing the North Londoners to step in and secure his signature.
“Mavropanos’ transfer is a very strange one,” said Bratsos
“Olympiacos almost signed him and another central defender from Greece U20 team, Triantafyllos Pasalidis, who Mavropanos is second choice behind.
“But, PAS Giannina owner, Giorgos Christovasilis, who is from the same village as Mavropanos, resisted the sale due to interest from abroad.”
Mavropanos has been a regular for Giannina this season, making 14 Super League appearances but, Bratsos believes he may struggle with the step up in quality.
“This year he has featured in almost every game for PAS, missing only one, and he’s the second highest goal scorer for the team with three goals, only behind Pedro Conte, who’s the top scorer in Super League with seven.”
“He’s a tall, strong and good in the air. With a bit more work, I don’t think he’ll have problems in this area the Premier League. In addition, he has quick feet and is fairly fast, at least for his height.
“However, I believe his decision making is not good enough, he’s not technically gifted and he can be very rough in his marking, resulting in unnecessary cards.
“I don’t believe he can handle a challenge like Arsenal. There is talk of a loan to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and if this happens, I don’t think he’ll ever come back to England.
“I’m not too convinced about him yet, but maybe with the right coaching and guidance he might just make it in the top tier.”
Once the deal is officially confirmed Mavropanos will become only the second Greek player to sign for Arsenal, the first being Stefan Tavlaridis.
Highly-respected journalist and Greek football expert Bratos was asked if the two were comparable. He explained: “It’s difficult to answer. Tavlaridis had three to four full seasons in Greece, at what was then a top club, Iraklis, before his transfer to Arsenal, and he was 24-years-old when he moved in London.
“Mavropanos is just a 20 year-old kid, who haven’t played a single full season yet.
“Let’s say at the same age, in their 20s, Tavlaridis was better, but in Iraklis Tavlaridis didn’t have the right environment to develop further his talent.
“Mavropanos will have that environment, either in Arsenal or in Werder, so maybe there is greater potential for him.”
With thanks to Costas Bratsos. Follow him on Twitter @CostasBratsos
Follow Dan Mountney on Twitter @DanMSportsJ