Jose Mourinho has made a £32.5m bid for Roma centre back Kostas Manolas, according to reports
The Sun report that Jose Mourinho has decided to spend big to sign the Greek defender as talks with Benfica over a deal for Victor Lindelof have hit a wall, with Mourinho rumoured to have pulled the plug on the deal. Manolas is one of the most highly rated centre-backs in the world, and has been linked with moves to the Premier League for a long time now.
Chelsea were also rumoured to be interested in the Greek defender, with Antonio Conte looking for defensive reinforcements. The Italian will know Manolas well from his time with Juventus, but Jose Mourinho is now set to rival him and is willing to spend what it takes to land the defender.
The Sun state that Mourinho started looking at which players he would like to sign last May, and “paid special attention” to Manolas and team-mate Alessandro Florenzi. They also report that Roma are “playing hardball” and are unwilling to sell the centre-back, who signed for the Italian side from Olympiacos in 2014 for around £12.8m.
Manolas has made 20 appearances across all competitions this season, and is averaging 2.4 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 6.1 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game. A pacy, strong defender, Manolas would have no problem adapting to the rigours of the Premier League, and at 25, still has his best years ahead of him. At 189cm, Manolas is good in the air but also has the pace and agility to combat quick players on the ground.
Manchester United have been left light in defence this season after injuries to Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly – who has now left the squad to represent Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations. Mourinho was forced to field a makeshift defence at times, and Smalling seems to have fallen out of favour with the Portugese tactician.
Manolas would not only be a ready-made centre back as he has made 106 appearances for Roma already, but could also form a partnership with the 22-year old Bailly for years to come. With Mourinho looking to build a side that can dominate the league and Champions League, Manolas would definitely be a quality addition to the side.
Given that Mourinho has openly said he wants reinforcements at the back, and the fact that Victor Lindelof’s move to Manchester United seems to have fallen through, there could be some truth to this story. And considering Manolas will only have 2 years left on his contract once this season is over, United may not have to make a bid too much higher than the £32.5m being reported.