Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so.
Sam Dean inadvertently revealed why the media aren't criticising him:
In the darkest moments of the Unai Emery era, when the club was spiralling out of control and the results were becoming worse and worse, it became almost impossible to convince an Arsenal player to stop and talk to the media after matches.
It was a dreadful time at the club and the players knew what they would be asked. What is going wrong? Why is this happening? How do you turn it around? These are not easy questions, and most of the first-team squad had no intention of answering them publicly.
Most of them, but not all. As journalists on the Arsenal beat we could always rely on Sokratis, a true warrior of the mixed zone (where players ‘mix’ with journalists in short post-match interviews), to front up. When the rest of the players hid, or indeed took the back exit from the changing room to avoid the mixed zone altogether, Sokratis was generally open to a quick chat.
Now, we journalists can certainly read too much into these things. And it is human nature for our personal views to be slightly skewed towards the players we actually like. But to this observer, at least, it always felt like proof of Sokratis being a senior, mature leader of the dressing room.
It can only be hoped that Sokratis, who has not been included in Arsenal's Premier League or Europa League squads, is not labelled a flop in the years to come. Admittedly, he has not justified his £18 million transfer fee, or his wages of around £100,000 a week. But he was very rarely a disaster when he played. In fact, in many games under Emery he was one of Arsenal’s best performers. He also celebrated slide tackles like goals, which was terrific fun.
Sokratis has been a victim of two things in his Arsenal career. Firstly, the complete lack of team structure at the end of Emery’s reign, when the defence had no protection from a non-existent midfield. Secondly, the change of style under Mikel Arteta, which has not suited his game. The Greek defender has many strengths but threading precise passes out from the back is not one of them.
He could have left this summer, of course. But at 32, with one year remaining on his deal, and a newborn baby arriving in August, there were plenty of reasons to stay. Earlier in the summer, sources close to the defender made the point that other players have been frozen out and then welcomed back into the fold under Arteta. Why not Sokratis?
His omission from the squad lists obviously prevents that from happening now. It feels like a shame for a player who always gave it his all. He will not go down as a successful signing for Arsenal, given the finances involved, but he was the type of character they needed at the time. Some of the criticism he has received has been unfair and, to my mind at least, he will be missed when he leaves.