Sokratis adds to Arsenal clearout

London (AFP) –


Arsenal announced on Wednesday they had reached an agreement with defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos to cancel the final six months of his contract at the Emirates.

Sokratis, 32, last played for the Gunners in March and had not been included in Mikel Arteta's Premier League squad this season.

"Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent," Arsenal said in a statement.

"This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible."

Sokratis joined from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 as one of former Arsenal boss Unai Emery's first signings.

He made 69 appearances for the club and was part of August's FA Cup-winning side.

His departure is the latest move from Arteta and technical director Edu to streamline a bloated squad during the January transfer window.

"On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club," said Edu.

"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."

William Saliba and Sead Kolasinac have been moved out on loan deals to Nice and Schalke respectively.

Mesut Ozil's seven-and-a-half year stay is also set to come to an end as the German international has arrived in Turkey to complete a move to Fenerbahce.