Juventus are hoping to beat Manchester United to the signing of AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas when the transfer window reopens.
According to Calcio Mercato, United held talks with Roma over the availability of the Greek star during the January market, but no deal ever came to fruition.
While the Red Devils might be tempted to launch a formal bid this summer, acquiring the 27-year-old will be far more difficult six months on, due to the interest Juventus now hold in the player.
The Italian champions are prepared to meet the buy-out clause in Manolas’ current contract, which is set at €38 million, having identified him as the perfect candidate to shore up their defensive line – as per Calcio Mercato.
Juventus have had another very strong campaign to date, but they are in severe danger of exiting the Champions League early, after losing the first leg of their last 16 clash with Atletico Madrid 2-0.
The Old Lady are the runaway leaders in Serie A and they remain unbeaten domestically this term, but if they do indeed fall short in Europe once again the club will be targeting fresh reinforcements.
Manolas is near the top of the list after his impressive displays for Roma this season, where he has taken in 27 appearances in total across all competitions and contributed one goal.
This latest news may come as a blow to the United hierarchy and supporters, given the fact that bringing in a new centre-back remains a priority for the club this summer.
Manolas would surely have slotted into the United defence seamlessly and with his experience in the Italian top flight, which is famed for its defensive quality, he might have been the final piece in the puzzle at the back.
However, at Juventus, the likelihood of him adapting quickly would be even greater and at the moment they would have to be considered favourites in the race to secure the Greece international’s services.