Sokratis Papastathopoulos is ready to walk away from Arsenal this summer if he does not figure in Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans.
The Greek defender is tied to a contract at Emirates Stadium that is due to run until 2021 and he has previously suggested that he will honour that agreement before contemplating a move elsewhere.
Sokratis has, however, seen David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi nail down centre-half berths under Arteta, while Pablo Mari is also now on board, and the highly-rated William Saliba will join the Gunners’ ranks at the end of the season.
If there is no regular role for him in north London, having been used a makeshift right-back at times over recent weeks, Sokratis admits he is prepared to push for the exits.
The 31-year-old told reporters when quizzed on his future: “I don’t know.
“I have one more year here but me, I never sit on my contract.
“I don’t care. If I’m not happy, I don’t play enough or the coach doesn’t like me, I don’t care about the contract.
“For me the money is not important, it is important I feel good, I feel happy and the team is happy with me. If not, I take the road and I finish.
“I don’t think about it, I think every day to be happy and help the team and in the end we will see but what I say is that I am not a player who sits on a contract – I don’t need it.”
Sokratis staked a claim for more minutes in his most recent outing for Arsenal, as he opened the scoring in a 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Portsmouth.
Arteta made nine changes in that contest, after seeing his side slip out of the Europa League at the hands of Olympiacos, and the hope is that continental disappointment has been shrugged off.
“It’s a result that gives you a little bit of confidence back,” Sokratis said of the victory at Fratton Park.
“Now we understand that first when you have three things (trophies) to fight for and lose one that last year you made the final in, it’s hard.
“The first thing the manager said to us is that this game finished and we have to look forward.
“We still have a lot of games in the Premier League but it is difficult and this year we didn’t start very good.”
Arsenal currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of the top four, and will be back in action on Saturday when they take in a derby date with London rivals West Ham.