Arsenal have been linked with a move for AS Roma centre-back Kostas Manolas as Unai Emery looks to sure up his defence ahead of his second season in charge.
Despite finishing a place higher than last season in fifth, the Gunners still looked less than convincing at the back. They conceded 51 league goals alone – the same number as Arsene Wenger’s final league campaign in charge – while Wolves, Everton, Leicester and Newcastle all conceded fewer in the league.
As a result, Emery is prepared to trigger Manolas’ £31m release clause, according to Il Messaggero, in an attempt to fix an issue that has plagued the Europa League finalists for some time.
Per the aforementioned report, the 27-year-old will be allowed to leave the Stadio Olimpico in a cut-price deal should Roma fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which is a distinct possibility considering they are three points outside the top four with two games left.
Manolas – who has been at Roma since 2014 – is contracted at the club until 2022, but is unlikely to see out the remainder of his contract due to the amount of interest in him.
Premier League rivals Manchester United have also been linked with the central defender in recent times, with their need for defensive improvements justified considering they conceded more league goals than Arsenal.
Manolas has made 35 appearances for Roma this season and over 200 for the club overall, although he is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
If the Greek defender does move to the Emirates for £31m, he will take up a large part of the £40m transfer budget Emery is expected to be given this summer. Although, that could increase should they beat Chelsea in the Europa League final and subsequently qualify for next season’s