Sokratis Papastathopoulos is the latest player to leave Arsenal this January as Mikel Arteta continues to trim his inflated wage bill.
The Greek defender, signed from Borussia Dortmund, has fallen out of favour since Arteta took over and was left of the club's Europa League and Premier League squads, as his fellow veteran Mesut Ozil was too.
His contract was due to expire at the end of the season, but Arsenal have agreed a mutual termination with the former Werder Bremen man.
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A club statement read: "Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent.
"This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible."
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Technical director Edu added: "On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club.
"He has been an important part of our group and has been a model professional throughout. The negotiations to end his contract have been collaborative and we wish Papa and his family well for the future.”
He is not the first player to leave the Emirates Stadium in the January transfer window. Sead Kolasinac's loan return to Schalke has been confirmed, while Ozil is in Istanbul and set to sign for Fenerbahce.
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The debate around whether Ozil could have added something to Arsenal's first team for the past few months will rage on until the end of the season but there is no doubting that the likes of Sokratis and Kolasinac were not adding much to the squad.
Arsenal have collected a number of average centre-backs in recent years, since the established partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker was broken up by age. Sokratis is clearly not in Arteta's reckoning, having fallen well behind Gabriel, Rob Holding, David Luiz and Pablo Mari in the pecking order. William Saliba, who is just 19 and on loan at Nice, remains an intriguing prospect.
Arsenal's squad is certainly too big and a clearout is truly overdue. With the financial impact of falling out of the Champions League, coupled with the downturn in matchday revenue thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, they clearly have their hands tied in the transfer market, and moving on those with inflated wage packets is certainly a way in which they can balance their playing staff.
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