Arsenal are reportedly closing on a deal for Greek international defender Kostas Manolas after holding fresh talks with his representatives, according to reports on Goal.com.
The 23 year old played every minute of his team’s four matches at the World Cup allowing just two goals as Greece reached the knockout stages, while he also featured in the Champions League last season with Olympiakos.
The report suggests the Gunners are close to securing the signing of Manolas as they held fresh talks with his representatives over the weekend. The North London club are working on a deal to sign the defender after opening negotiations with the Greek outfit last week.
It further states that the defender’s advisers flew into the UK to step up talks about the structure of the deal and to discuss personal terms. The Emirates club have been quoted a fee of £8 million by Olympiakos for him although the Greek side could be willing to accept a lower figure if all of the costs are paid up front.
The young defender has been tracked by a number of clubs across Europe including the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Napoli after his impressive performances for Greece at this summer’s World Cup.
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Key statistics: (Via Squawka)
His defensive displays at the World Cup were very impressive and is what basically put him on the map this summer. He played in every minute of Greece’s games in Brazil, winning 75% of his tackles and 71% of his aerial duels during the tournament.
A quick look at his Champions League stats offers something comparable to the Gunners backline. He won 62.3% of his total duels and 64% of aerial duels, he’s pretty much spot on with Laurent Koscielny who managed 61.2% and 65% respectively but Mertesacker trounced them and was into the 70′s for both.
Style of Play:
He stands at 6’1″ and can fill in at left back or defensive midfield if absolutely necessary. His physical attributes are reminiscent of Laurent Koscielny’s and he will provide the versatility that Arsenal need in center backs.
He has pace and the sought-after ability to pick a pass as well. The Gunners rely heavily on their center backs to start attacking moves by playing the ball out from defense. He also offers a goal threat going forward, last campaign he managed to net twice in his seven Champions League appearances.
Should we Buy?
He would prove to be a critical signing for manager Arsene Wenger. He is still young, has Champions League experience and he can be groomed for a future role with the club while Mertesacker and Koscielny hold down the fort. He will take time to develop into a top-tier center-back and Wenger would be risking the team’s ability to compete in several different competitions if Chambers were to see an inordinate amount of playing time due to injuries elsewhere in the squad.
Manolas and Chambers would combine to provide rotation and could provide excellent cover in cup competitions, while also gaining valuable experience. It also frees up the likes of Nacho Monreal to focus on his natural left-back position. The Gunners need a back-up defender who can make an impact when called on and Manolas is perfect for that role.
Rumour Rater : 4/5
1 – Never going to happen
2 – Unlikely
3 – Could be possible
4 – Likely
5 – Done deal
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