Arsenal have agreed to terminate the contract of defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
The 32-year-old, who has not started a game since March, failed to make Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season and has been frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta.
His current deal was set to expire in the summer but the centre-back has agreed to end his time with the club earlier than planned.
A statement on the club’s website read: ‘Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent.
‘This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible. The Greek international defender joined us from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 and made 69 appearances for us. He was part of the Emirates FA Cup-winning squad in August and played 12 matches during our run to the Europa League final in 2019.’
Arsenal’s technical director Edu said: ‘On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club.
‘He has been an important part of our group and has been a model professional throughout. The negotiations to end his contract have been collaborative and we wish Papa and his family well for the future.’
Sokratis posted an emotional farewell to the club on Instagram and thanked fans for their support.
He wrote: ‘One of the most enjoyable times in my career ended today. It has been an honour to wear the Arsenal shirt and I want to thank all the coaches, team-mates, staff and fans around the world for the love and respect they have given me.
‘I gave everything for Arsenal and Arsenal also gave me a lot. I wish you all the best health and success always. Thank you.’
The defender joined Arsenal in a £17million deal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 and made 69 appearances.
His most recent was as a last-minute substitute in the FA Cup final in August, which Arsenal won 2-1.
The termination of his contract means Sokratis is free to agree a deal with another club.
The Greece international has had interest from Genoa, who he played for from 2008 to 2010.
Napoli and Fenerbache have also been linked with the centre-back. A move to Fenerbache would see Sokratis link-up with former team-mate Mesut Ozil.
The former Germany international finally completed his move to the Turkish club on Monday after being frozen out by Arteta, who is trying to trim down his bloated squad.
Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have both been sent out on loan. Kolasinac has rejoined former club Schalke while Sailba will spend the rest of the season with Nice.
Saliba is yet to make his first-team debut after signing for the Gunners in the summer.
Ozil’s departure mean the club reduced their wage bill significantly. The 32-year-old was the Gunners’ highest earner on £350,000 per week.