Arsenal are putting the finishing touches on a £2-million deal for 20-year-old centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos, according to the Guardian and other sources.
The deal has already been confirmed by Arsene Wenger, who said following Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea: “Yes [the signing is complete], but he’s not ready to play. He will go out on loan.”
The young defender will move from PAS Giannina and has been identified by chief scout Sven Mislintat who will be working intensively to identify and bring the best young talent to the Emirates in the coming years.
Who is Konstantinos Mavropanos?
Mavropanos is thought to be the one to watch on the defensive front in Greece. He made his official debut for PAS Giannina in November of 2016 in the second round of the Greek Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in his club’s 1-0 victory over Agrotikos Asteras. This came after a meniscus injury which obstructed his development for several months.
Mavropanos would go on to complete two games this season, his good performances putting him on the radar of Greece Under-21s coach Antonis Nikopolidis who gave the youngster his first taste of international football – two matches, albeit in a midfielder role.
The former Apollon Smyrni youth product would then sign a new three-year deal with PAS Giannina in January 2017. In the following season, Mavropanos broke into Giannina’s first team, becoming an inseparable part of Giannis Petrakis’ three-man set up at the back. He has so far clocked 14 matches, scoring three goals in the process.
His good performances had attracted interest from elite Greek club Olympiacos before Arsenal intervened recently.
Mavropanos is now thought to be set for a loan move to Werder Bremen later this month in bid to aid his development.
What can Mavropanos bring to Arsenal?
It is far too early to say whether he would make it into the Gunners’ first eleven, but, by the look of it, he has the ingredients. Mavropanos possesses the physique to deal with the high-intensity demands of the Premier League. He is strong, fearless in challenges and a good header of the ball – his three goals for his former club come from headers.
Gazzeta.gr journalist Thodoris Vasilis belives Mavropanos’ to be similar in style to Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi’s. According to him, the youngster is dynamic, and although not very technically gifted, he is good when it comes to one-on-one duels.
He already has some tactical experience under his belt, being utilised as part of a three-man defence and even as a midfielder in the Greece Under-21s team.
Mavropanos would likely be sent on a couple of loan spells before a final decision is made on him as to whether he should play for Arsenal or not. His progress is currently blocked by other young talents in the Arsenal squad, such as Rob Holding and Calum Chambers.
What’s next for Arsenal?
The Gunners are in the midst of huge revamp with their staff in bid to get back to glory following times of heavy criticism from the fans. As part of the shift, former Borussia Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat was appointed to take a similar position for Arsenal in the summer.
It is believed Arsenal have devised a plan to secure young talents around Europe before their transfer market value inflates. Mislintat, who identified Mavropanos for Arsenal, has been responsible for bringing Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Abaumeyang and Ousmane Dembele to Borussia Dortmund prior to his switch to the Emirates.