Arsenal linked with a £31.1m move for defensive rock: Just what Emery needs

Arsenal are keen on signing AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas, and are already in talks with his agent Mino Raiola.

The 27-year-old is available for £31.1m due to a release clause in his contract, and the North London club plan to trigger it, claim Daily Star.

Roma still have an outside chance to make it into the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season, but need results elsewhere to go in their favour.

Arsenal, however, have a great opportunity to qualify for the next year’s Champions League when they lock horns with Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku on 29th May.

Kostas Manolas would be a smashing signing for Arsenal

Last summer, Unai Emery took over the reins of the North London club from long-standing manager Arsene Wenger. For a debut season, Emery has done well but failing to reach the Champions League won’t sit well with the fans, especially after Arsenal bottled the top four finish from a strong position in the latter part of the season.

Europa League seems to be Arsenal’s ladder to the Champions League this season. The Spaniard won the competition thrice consecutively in his tenure with La Liga side Sevilla. Similarly, Arsenal have also shown tremendous pedigree in Europa League under Emery, defeating the likes of Rennes, Napoli, and Valencia on their way to the final.

Manolas could be lured away to Emirates with the prospect of Champions League football, which makes the final in Baku even more significant from Arsenal’s point of view.

The 27-year-old is a robust centre-back who never shies away from a tackle, given his physicality, the Premier League looks like a good fit for the Greek International.

Manolas’ pace and reading of the game are other attributes which Arsenal lack in their defence, with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny flattering to deceive more often than not. The Greek international can play comfortably in a traditional four-man defence and a three-man backline.

The Roma defender has made an average of 1.2 tackles and 1.7 interceptions a game this season, showing traits that are currently deficient in the Gunners defence.

Speed is another thing Manolas possesses, and he would complement his compatriot Sokratis pretty well at the back.

Manolas would be a good addition to the Arsenal backline which has become infamous for making schoolboy mistakes in the last few years. Still 27, Manolas is at the peak of his prowess, and would be a marquee signing for the Gunners.

Stat Courtesy: Whoscored

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