Sokratis the 25th Greek to compete in the English Premier League
In joining Konstantinos Mavropanos on Arsenal’s books, Sokratis Papastathopoulos has become the 25th Greek player to compete in the English Premier League. AGONAsport investigates.
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Following weeks of speculation, Arsenal finally unveiled the signing of experienced Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos on Monday, picking up the 30-year old for a reported fee of 19 million euros. In penning a 3+1 deal with the Gunners, Papastathopoulos is now the 25th Greek player to join an English Premier League team, incidentally teaming up with fellow defender Konstantinos Mavropanos in London.
Back in June 1996, Giorgos Donis created history by becoming the first Greek to transfer to an English Premier League club, moving to Blackburn Rovers from Athenian giants Panathinaikos. As a Blackburn player, Donis participated in 21 matches in the domestic championship, scoring the one goal, an impressive solo effort, in a game against Everton.
After the stunning UEFA Euro 2004 triumph, Greeks were suddenly popular among English teams, as players such as Konstantinos Chalkias, Angelos Basinas, Vasilis Lakis and Ioannis Skopelitis were all picked up by Portsmouth, although they endured mixed fortunes with the South Coast club.
In recent years, Konstantinos Mitroglou and Apostolos Vellios struggled to leave their mark in England, but 20-year old Arsenal defender Mavropanos is tipped for big things. Leaving PAS Giannina in January, Mavropanos was expected to be sent out on loan, however Arsenal decided to keep him instead and he impressed in three Premier League appearances near the end of the season. An Arsenal defensive partnership of Papastathopoulos and Mavropanos is certainly a tasty prospect for Greek fans and it could soon turn into a reality.
Let’s take a statistical look at the 25 Greek players to move to the English Premier League:
Giorgos Donis: Blackburn (1996-1997) - 21 appearances, 1 goal;
Theodoros Zagorakis: Leicester City (1998-2000) - 50 appearances, 3 goals;
Nikolaos Dabizas: Newcastle United (1998-2003) - 130 appearances, 11 goals; Leicester City (2003-2005) - 51 appearances, 1 goal;
Giorgos Georgiadis: Newcastle United (1998-1999) - 10 appearances;
Vasilis Borbokis: Derby County (1999-2000) - 16 appearances;
Stathis Tavlaridis: Arsenal (2001-2004) - 4 appearances, 1 goal;
Konstantinos Konstantinidis: Bolton (2002), 3 appearances;
Stelios Giannakopoulos: Bolton (2003-2008) - 137 appearances, 20 goals; Hull City (2008-2009) - 2 appearances;
Vasilis Lakis: Crystal Palace (2004-2005) - 18 appearances;
Konstantinos Chalkias: Portsmouth (2005-2006) - 5 appearances;
Ioannis Skopelitis: Portsmouth (2005-2006) - 18 appearances;
Theofanis Gekas: Portsmouth (2009) - 1 appearance;
Angelos Basinas: Portsmouth (2009-2010) - 15 appearances;
Giorgos Samaras: Manchester City (2006-2008) - 54 appearances, 8 goals; West Bromwich Albion (2014-2015) - 5 appearances;
Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Liverpool (2009-2011) - 30 appearances, 3 goals; Sunderland (2012-2013) - 3 appearances;
Apostolos Vellios: Everton (2011-2014) - 22 appearances, 3 goals;
Evangelos Moras: Swansea City (2011-2012) - 1 appearance;
Giorgos Karagounis: Fulham (2012-2014) - 39 appearances, 1 goal;
Charalampos Mavrias: Sunderland (2013-2016) - 4 appearances;
Konstantinos Mitroglou: Fulham (2014-2016) - 3 appearances;
Jose Holebas: Watford (2015-present) - 70 appearances, 3 goals;
Orestis Karnezis: Watford (2017-present) - 14 appearances;
Konstantinos Stafylidis: Stoke City (2018-present) - 5 appearances;
Konstantinos Mavropanos: Arsenal (2018-present) - 3 appearances;
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: Arsenal (2018-present) - only just signed.