Arsenal have identified AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas as their defensive signing next summer according to reports in Spain, however are in direct contention with Barcelona for the highly rated defender.
Manolas had been on Arsene Wenger’s radar last summer and clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United along with Barcelona were also on the chase to sign the centre-back however the Serie A giants resisted any offers.
The Gunners dropped their interest in the defender as they signed Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia in the summer but as speculation rises over Per Mertesacker’s future at the club, reports by Spanish newspaper Sport suggest Arsenal have reignited their pursuit for the former Olmypiakos man.
With less than 12 months remaining on his contract, Mertesacker is linked with a move to Hannover if he doesn’t renew his ties with the Gunners.
Manolas signed for Roma two years back and ever since becoming a regular for the Italian club, has never lost his starting role establishing himself well into the team. The 25-year-old is currently valued at €25 million and Roma has given no hints on extending his contract at the club which could mean there might not be a raise in his price tag.
Seeing the Serie A club does agree to sell the defender next year, Barcelona will get first priority because of loaning Thomas Vermaelen to Roma earlier this summer.
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Therefore, in order to sign Manolas, Wenger will have to put up a serious fight and go toe to toe with the Spanish club if Mertesacker does depart from the Emirates next summer.