Arsenal are reportedly scouting Roma centre-back and Chelsea target Kostas Manolas as a potential replacement for veteran Per Mertesacker.
Per Mertesacker has been one of the key first-team defenders at Arsenal since arriving from Bundesliga club Werder Bremen in 2011. At 31 years of age, the big German’s career is on the wane, and the Gunners will have to look for a long-term replacement for their defensive mainstay.
According to Goal, they have set their sights on Greek centre-back Kostas Manolas. The 24-year-old currently plies his trade for Serie A side AS Roma, having arrived in Italy from Greek giants Olympiacos in 2014. Manolas is highly rated by scouts and is regarded as having the potential to become one of the best centre-backs in Europe in the future.
Arsenal had previously shown interest in Manolas two years ago, but Roma offered him a better deal to leave Olympiacos. The Greece international is contracted to the capital club till 2019 and this means that the Gunners will have to commit a big fee to bring him to the Emirates. Manolas is valued at €24 million by transfermarkt.com, but could end up costing Arsenal between €30 million and €40 million considering that he is an important player in Rome.
Chelsea also interested in Manolas
Arsenal will need to be wary of Premier League rivals Chelsea, who are also reportedly interested in the player. A massive squad overhaul is expected to happen at Stamford Bridge in the summer as incoming manager Antonio Conte deals with a team that has gone from defending champions to mid-table flops.
Conte is well known for forging solid defensive units and will need to invest in centre-backs, especially considering the probable departure of veteran John Terry. In this regard, he has reportedly instructed the club to open negotiations with AS Roma over Manolas, with some reports suggesting that talks between the parties involved have already begun.
Manolas is the latest Roma player to be linked with a Premier League move, with his teammates Radja Nainggolan, Antonio Rudiger and Miralem Pjanic also rumoured to be top transfer targets for the big English clubs.