With Sokratis move to Arsenal seems imminent, Dortmund need to look to replace the Greek defender who has been the key to their solidity in the recent seasons, and they need to do it quickly.
News and updates about the 30-year-old defender’s move to the Premier League side have perhaps stalled a bit lately, but according to The Daily Express, the deal will not be announced until July due to Borussia Dortmund’s fiscal year.
Dortmund have several players that have been linked with them for some time now and knowing that their big defender’s move is almost official now, I think they should probably make a move of their own and decide now.
Sokratis, who only has one year left in his current contract has been a vital figure in the heart of the defence for Die Schwarzgelben but suffered a little dip in form last season but he is seen by Unai Emery as the perfect short-term fix for Arsenal.
Today I have compiled a list of several defenders that could be an ideal replacement of Sokratis at Dortmund.
Matthijs de Ligt
Only 18 years of age, Matthijs de Ligt stormed through the famous youth ranks of Ajax Amsterdam right into the first team since the 2016/17 season. He also started in the final of UEFA Europa League against Manchester United that season
Standing 1.88 m tall, the Dutch defender is really strong in the air. He’s also very composed in the defence, something which we rarely find in a defender of such a young age. The product of Ajax youth academy is also very solid in the passing department, which makes him able to release himself from pressure and distribute the ball to the front.
De Ligt is ever present for Ajax this season, appearing in 39 matches in all competitions, scoring 3 goals and another 3.
He could be a solid replacement of the outgoing Sokratis for Dortmund though he might not really have the same aggressivity and combatant mentality like the Greek defender, he is a technically proficient defender.
Too many is the number of big teams in Europe that want him this summer with notable clubs like Tottenham, Everton, Bayern Munchen, and Manchester City also rumoured to be serious about making moves for the defender so if Dortmund are to get him, they should definitely make an offer now. But the young wonderkid might cost a hefty fee for the Bundesliga side though, something that should also be taken into consideration.
Abdou Diallo is a graduate of the youth academy of AS Monaco.
He is a commanding centre-back, quick and strong, able to shrug the attackers off the ball and win it. He also excels at passing the ball just like Matthijs de Ligt.
The left-footed defender was rarely used in the 2016//17 by AS Monaco though he was impressive while on loan at Zulte Waregem the season before. Abdou Diallo then made his move to Bundesliga side FSV Mainz for 5 million euros.
The 22-year-old defender played an important part for his club in his first season there, playing a total of 30 games in all competitions where he managed to score 3 goals and assist once.
He is also courted by many teams in Europe including Arsenal, Lyon, and some other teams, but Dortmund is highly likely to be his next destination. Nothing is confirmed yet though.
A product of Lille’s youth academy, who have also produced the likes of Eden Hazard, Lucas Digne, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, and many others – Benjamin Pavard is another talent who has come out and shone in Europe.
The Maubeuge native has been impressive throughout the season for Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart and has been awarded a call-up to his national team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup – and though nobody actually expected him to be the centre of attention in Russia, he actually delivered excellent performances as he helped his team to two wins out of possible two in the World Cup. He looked calm and composed all the time as though he’s a seasoned defender.
Only 22 years old, Pavard made 36 appearances in all competitions for Stuttgart scoring 1 goal. He is a pretty versatile player, could play as a right-back, defensive midfielder, central midfielder or even a wide midfielder. He is a proficient tackler and also very intelligent when it comes to reading the opposition’s play. He also has the pace needed to track back in case his team is caught on the break.
His stock has skyrocketed this summer and it could still grow depending on his World Cup performance (which has been excellent so far). Several teams have been keeping tabs on the defender like Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham. He could be the perfect choice for Dortmund, he is a technically sound centre-back and versatile too. He has also shown his ability to be a superb ball-playing defender with a successful passing rate of 83.7% according to Whoscored.
Would you believe if I tell you that this guy has only turned 19 this year and has already been a starter in his side for two seasons? Well, he is and he has actually been a starter for his team, OGC Nice for two seasons.
Though he didn’t play as much as he did in the 2016/17 season, Sarr did show glimpses of his potential throughout this season as various teams from Europe keep their eyes keenly on this defensive wonderkid.
The left-footed defender appeared in 29 games in all competitions for OGC Nice this season, he didn’t manage to score or assist any goal though, but he was very solid in the defensive department.
Malang Sarr is strong in the air despite standing only 1.82 m tall, his jumping reach is actually quite high. He also has some speed in his pocket so dealing with pacey attackers won’t really be much of a trouble, very suitable for a team with a high defensive line like Dortmund. He has also worked for Dortmund’s new coach Lucien Favre, which is his former boss in Nice so that would definitely be a plus too. The 19-year-old could play either as a left-back or a centre-back.
Malang Sarr has attracted some interests from all around Europe but I think he would be a bit reluctant to leave his hometown club Nice and Nice, in the other hand, will definitely give a high valuation for their academy graduate. But in my opinion, he is a defender that Dortmund should absolutely take a closer look on, or even make a move for this summer.