Arsenal are ready to battle it out with Juventus in the pursuit of AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas, who is likely to leave Stadio Olimpico this summer.
According to Calciomercato, Arsenal have joined Juventus in the chase to sign AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas this summer. The Giallorossi have had an uneventful campaign and are unlikely to secure Champions League qualification next season, paving the way for Manolas to depart Stadio Olimpico in the ongoing transfer window.
The defender reportedly has a release clause in his contract, and both these clubs are prepared to meet that price, which is said to be around the £32 million mark. And, this could be an exciting opportunity for Arsenal to secure the services of a quality defender for a relatively meagre price.
Manolas has been one of Serie A’s most consistent defenders over the past few years, having made over 200 appearances in all competitions since joining Roma back in 2014. He is equipped with a specific set of skill set that could help him thrive at the Emirates.
For one, the Greek international has averaged over 85% pass completion rate in each of his five seasons at Roma, which is indicative of his ability to circulate possession. This could be beneficial for Arsenal given how bad Sokratis has struggled in rotating possession or to pass in between the lines.
Another key factor in Manolas’ gameplay is his ability to read the game. The 27-year-old has managed a whopping 1.9 interceptions per game, which is quite impressive for any defender in the world.
It also tunes in well with Unai Emery’s high-pressing philosophy. That means Manolas can operate as the attack-minded centre-back, who would be willing to move forward and press in midfield, cutting off any potential passing lanes in the process.
Furthermore, Manolas is quite strong in the air, which, in turn, makes him an indirect threat from set-pieces. He has won 2.6 aerial duels per game – a tally bettered only by the much-maligned Shkodran Mustafi among the Arsenal regulars this season.
Hence, the Greek international is a viable target for the Gunners as they aim to refresh their defensive unit next season following a chaotic domestic campaign. However, failing to win the Europa League final against Chelsea could complicate things in Arsenal’s pursuit of Manolas, especially with Juventus interested.
The Bianconeri will be able to offer Manolas Champions League football next season, something Arsenal will miss out on should they fail to win the Europa League, having finished fifth in the Premier League. Winning the coveted tournament could also boost Emery’s financial firepower, with the Spaniard reportedly having to make do with a paltry £40 million budget this summer.