Arsene Wenger makes stunning U-turn on Greek defender
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided against the loan exit of Konstantinos Mavropanos after he made a huge impression on his first training session. The Greece youth international joined the Gunners from PAS Giannina for £2.2m earlier this month, and Wenger initially suggested that the centre-back was not ready to handle the rigours of the Premier League.
However, the French tactician made a surprise decision to place Mavropanos on the bench for Wednesday's goalless versus Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final, and he has opted to keep him at the Emirates for the campaign, he said: "I personally want to keep him until May. The first signs have been so encouraging so we will keep him until May [the end of the season]."
Had Mavropanos featured versus the Blues, he would be ineligible to pursue a temporary move elsewhere as FIFA rules do not permit a player to feature for three clubs with the same schedule. Werder Bremen were fancied to sign the young central defender earlier this month, but it now appears that they may have to look elsewhere to strengthen their backline.
Arsenal have struggled with plenty of injuries over the past weeks, and the defence has been heavily hampered with the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac on the sidelines. Whilst Kolasinac is due to return this weekend, the aforementioned are likely to miss another week of first-team action, and it wouldn't be a surprise, if Mavropanos is picked in the matchday squad versus Bournemouth this weekend.
The north London side are currently five points behind a potential Champions League spot, but this gap could be cut down to just two this weekend with fourth-placed Liverpool facing a tough home game versus Manchester City. The Reds have been dominant over their Mancunian counterparts in the Premier League era, but Pep Guardiola's side present a different challenge with their vast array of attacking talent.