Arsenal are weighing up a transfer bid for AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas, who has long been on Manchester United’s radar.
The Greece international has enjoyed a fine 2018-19 campaign at the Stadio Olimpico, racking up 34 appearances across all competitions.
According to the Daily Express, United have been plotting a move for the 27-year-old since the turn of the year, but they may now face stiff competition from a familiar foe.
Calcio Mercato states Arsenal are interested in signing Manolas, who has a €36 million buy-out clause in his existing contract with Roma, which can be activated from July 1.
The Gunners are aiming to beat United in the race for the Greek star in an unorthodox fashion, with it their desire to pay a larger fee in multiple instalments as opposed to meeting his current valuation up front.
This latest news will surely come as a blow to Red Devils supporters, who might have hoped Manolas was already preparing for life at Old Trafford after months of speculation.
The Serie A ace has emerged as one of Europe’s finest defenders and whoever manages to secure his services this summer will be pulling off one of the biggest transfer coups of the year, but it remains to be seen what his final decision will be.
Unai Emery could certainly benefit from signing such an experienced defender given Arsenal’s well-documented woes at the back this season, especially with club captain Laurent Koscielny nearing the end of his contract at the club.
However, United’s need is arguably even greater and a transfer battle could be on the cards between two Premier League giants when the market reopens at the end of May.
Roma could also end up trying to keep hold of Manolas if they fail to finish in the top four in Serie A, with transfer funds for new players unlikely to be released otherwise.