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Leicester have all but wrapped up the Premier League title under the nose of traditional title contenders, and the humbled English juggernauts will likely retaliate by attempting to seduce every other league’s TOTY (team of the year) nominees with the television deal monies.
AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas has been heavily linked with Chelsea and Manchester United for quite some time now, with respected journalist Gianluca di Marzio even reporting that representatives of both clubs have discussed terms with the player’s agent ahead of a summer move.
The English media now report that Arsenal have entered the fray for his signature.
Positioned as the sixth best Serie A defender on Squawka ratings, he has been enjoying a stellar season with Roma. Having played 31 games so far, he has epitomised consistency as he has averaged two interceptions, two tackles, and five clearances per game this season. Standing at 6 foot 1 inch tall, he rarely loses aerial duels having claimed the ball 75% of the time.
In addition, he humbles his Arsenal counterparts on being less error-prone as only one Serie A player has ever been able to capitalise on his mistake to find the net throughout his Roma career. Given his remarkable adaptation to the technical Italian football after his move from Greece, many clubs have justifiably been craving for his services.
Although Chelsea and Manchester United seem frontrunners for his signature, Arsenal have previously been embroiled in a similar situation, when he snubbed the Gunners in favour of a move to Stadio Olimpico bearing increased first-team involvement in mind. Legend has it that the history of transfer business between Olympiakos and Roma also played a part in the Greece international sacrificing the London lifestyle for Rome’s.
However, having established himself as one of the Europe’s brightest prospects, he should be yearning for a biggest challenge and a bigger stage to showcase his talent, not to mention a bigger paycheck.
Given his gigantic build, he could be mooted as a spiritual successor to the wilting Per Mertesacker, but he also possesses Koscielny-esque pace that makes him a manager’s dream. However, he might not fit into an Arsenal team as his passing range has been far from impressive.
Branded as a one-dimensional centreback — even by his fans —he offers only a very little to the attack, with his strength being tackles. With Arsene Wenger being the chief prophet of the pass God, he looks less like an Arsenal signing though he boasts world-class potential.
Arsenal supporters have only recently suffered from the repercussion of labelling a good defender in Gabriel Paulista great, and they will likely be cautious with their praises for their new defensive target.
As things stand, he looks very unlikely to become an automatic starter with three centrebacks wrestling for one spot, with Laurent Koscielny being almost undroppable. Any new defensive acquisition should walk into the squad as adding another less than world-class talent to the roster would hardly be a step forward.
In addition, should Roma sell him before the summer of 2017, they owe his former club Olympiakos the higher of £5.2million or 50% of the transfer fee.
Given he’s been price-tagged at £35million, Roma will likely prefer to retain his services for at least one more season as doing so could help them invest his transfer fee directly into the team instead of losing £17.5million because of a bizarre stipulation.
As we speak, Arsenal would be deliberating the purchase of a target, who would suit Arsenal’s style more than the Greek ironman and also not cost as much as Alexis Sanchez.
Written by Praveen R. Paramasivam
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