Arsenal

Transfer Battle: Sokratis Papastathopoulos vs Harry Maguire

After a disappointing start to the season, things have since picked up for Arsenal, who are currently on a six-game winning streak in the Premier League. 

And improvement at the back has been one factor behind the Gunners’ upturn in form.

Defensively, Arsenal can still look shaky at times. However, following defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, the team have started to concede less chances with summer signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos particularly impressing.

The 30-year-old is currently a doubt for his side’s Monday night clash versus Leicester City at the Emirates (via Evening Standard) but, should he be available for the game, he will line up against one of the division’s standout central defenders in Harry Maguire.

With that in mind, how do the two centre-backs compare?

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Not just this season, but for more than a decade questions have been asked about Arsenal’s defence.

Under former manager Arsene Wenger, quite simply, the Gunners had gone soft and lost that nasty streak and arrogance the club had in the earlier parts of the Frenchman’s tenure.

However, Sokratis has managed to restore some defensive aggression since arriving in north London back in July.

While the Greece international is not the quickest of central defenders, he is a very strong tackler and incredibly aggressive in the air.

In essence, Sokratis is the kind of centre-back Arsenal have been lacking for years and if he can maintain his current form, his addition will prove to be one of the smartest the club have made for quite some time.

TT Grade: B-

Harry Maguire

While Sokratis is an old-fashioned, robust centre-half, Maguire is the kind of technical, ball-playing central defender that most modern-day coaches so desperately crave.

The 25-year-old often puts his team on the front foot with his ability to play the ball out of defence in any situation or by going on a bursting run through midfield.

But on top of that, Maguire, most importantly, is a solid defender. The England international is so powerful when going into the air — as he showed on plenty occasions at the World Cup — so considering that and the above, it was not surprising to see him attract interest from Manchester United during the summer (via Sky Sports).

The former Hull City man has all the makings of a top six central defender and even after putting pen to paper on a new deal at the King Power, it is hard not to imagine another club coming in for him in the near future.

TT Grade: A-

TT Verdict:

There is no denying the good start to life in England Sokratis has made; Arsenal look a much better side with him in it and he seems so much more solid than central defensive partner Shkodran Mustafi.

However, Maguire is on a completely different level to the former Borussia Dortmund man.

Maguire is practically the complete defender and can do things Sokratis can only dream of doing.

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