Just days after Thomas Vermaelen’s move away from Arsenal to Barcelona, a number of defenders have been linked with the North London club as his replacement. The newest of those speculations is one that involves Olympiacos of Greece defender, Kostas Manolas. TMW, an Italian media outfit revealed this rumour on their website and stated the fact that Arsenal might just be ahead of other Italian clubs like Napoli and Juventus in securing the services of the youngster. Kostas Manolas, who has previously played for AEK Athens and Thrasyvoulos, starred for Greece in the 2014 FIFA World Cup that held in Brazil and was named among The Independent’s best 50 players from the Mundial. The 23-year-old defender is currently signed on to Olympiacos of Greece until 2017.
Thomas Vermaelen made a £15m move to Barcelona and Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger is reportedly in the market for a younger replacement for the 28-year-old Belgian and former Arsenal Captain. It now appears that the centre back position is where the North London club has the most pressing need for reinforcements, as attention has been shifted away from the defensive midfield position that Wenger was said to be in the market for. With big names like Daniel Agger, Mats Hummels, Raphael Varane and even the young Matija Nastasic mentioned here and there in the media, a name like Kostas Manolas, no doubt, would strike no chord, but such is the Wenger-way sometimes. Players like Alexander Hleb, Eduardo, Emmanuel Eboue and even Laurent Koscielny came into the Arsenal team with no weight and celebrations to their names and made significant impact in the squad. Manolas was said to have been a toast of a host of English Premier League clubs in the past few years. Tottenham, Fulham and Sunderland were reportedly interested in signing him in the January transfer window of 2014. It was also said that he declined a move to Everton two years ago from AEK Athens.
The level of Arsenal’s interest in Kostas Manolas is not known but Italian media believe that the Gunners stand the best chance of landing the promising defender because of the smooth relationship between Arsenal and Olympiacos. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell spent last season on loan at the Greek club and a mutual and friendly relationship was said and expected to have been established. Also, many believe that even though the player’s transfer fee may not be more than £10m, other competing clubs for his signature may not succeed in tempting the player with their weekly wage offer. Arsenal has showed that the club is strategically positioned and ready to battle it out with any club for any player’s service as the financial muscle of the London club seems to be flexed.
This rumour seems like one to keep an eye on as the source TMV in Italy is said to be very reliable with transfer rumours because they are often fed many of their stories directly from agents, clubs and players.
Manolas, a goal-scoring defender may still fight hard to gain a first team spot in the Centre-Back position as he would have to do enough to displace Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertersacker and even Calum Chambers, the 19-year-old player bought from Southampton this summer. At 23, a whole big future lies ahead of him at Arsenal, if Wenger brings him in.