PAS Giannina’s Kostas Mavropanos is making the move from the Greek Super League to Arsenal, the 20-year-old defender signed for €2.1 million (AUD $3.2 million).
The move is particularly impressive given the defender only made his professional debut in November 2016 in the Greek Cup, and Gazzetta.gr journalist Thodoris Vasilis says PAS was the perfect place for the youngster to start.
“PAS Giannina are a defence-minded team who are well organised and low scoring,” Vasilis told Goal.com.
“The game plan is about having a solid defence and hitting the opposition on the counter-attack. That opened up a big opportunity for Mavropanos as PAS play with three defenders.
“He showed that he’s very good in one-on-one duels. He’s not so much technically gifted, but very dynamic and good in the air.”
The journalist compared him to Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi.
Despite initially being apart of the Under-20 team, PAS coach Giannis Petrakis saw great talent in the young player, going as far as to put him in the starting line up for games against Veria and AEK Athens this season, which saw him voted man of the match against AEK.
“He’s considered the ‘next big thing’ in terms of Greek defenders after the likes of Panagiotis Retsos (Bayer Leverkusen), Sokratis (Borussia Dortmund) and Manolas (Roma) left Greece for Europe,” said Vasilis.
“Olympiakos was close to signing him in October for €1 million (AUD $1.5 million). However, it was not an official offer from Olympiakos. They wanted to have the first refusal on the player if he became for sale in January. PAS told them that if they received a better offer from outside they will accept it, which is why he is now heading to Arsenal.”
The deal is significant for PAS Giannina, Vasilis going so far as to dub it as “huge”, and is in fact the biggest in the club’s history.
“Interestingly, Arsenal’s chief scout Sven Mislintat watched Greece Under-20s play last summer and signed young Olympiakos player Argiris Kampetsis (for Mislintat’s former club Borussia Dortmund). He clearly has knowledge of the Greek market and Mavropanos’ arrival could be the start of similar signings, if his previous work is anything to go by,” said Vasilis.
“As for Mavropanos, there is no doubt that Arsenal have a big talent on their hands.”