Defensive acquisitions have never been high on Arsene Wenger’s wishlist, but the scarcity of options in the Arsenal centre-back department will surely coerce the thrifty tactician to dip back into the transfer market at least once more this summer.
Following the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, the Gunners only have teenager Calum Chambers providing cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
The £16m recruit from Southampton has been impressive in his first three competitive fixtures for the north Londoners, but one understudy (and one who played exclusively at right-back in his Saints days at that) isn’t enough to ensure success is maintained long term.
However, according to widespread reports, Greek counterpart Kostas Manolas, who is believed to be the subject of a £6m bid from Arsenal, could soon provide Chambers with some assistance.
So strong is the bookies’ insistence that the Olympiakos man will be plying his trade at the Emirates on or before September 2nd that they’ve priced the eventuality up at a microscopic 3/20.
A left-field signing such as this is by no means out of the ordinary for Wenger, but what’s prompted him to plump for Manolas?
Perhaps it was the 23-year-old’s performance for Greece at the World Cup, where he averaged 2.3 tackles per outing and maintained a pass completion rate of 87.5 per cent in helping his country to the last-16 stage.
He started each of his nation’s matches in Brazil, augmenting a reputation he first began carving out in the Champions League with his parent club.
In Europe’s premier competition last term, Manolas averaged a staggering ten clearances per appearance as his side’s impressive rearguard guided them to the last-16 stage.
Lauded for his pace and aerial prowess, there has been a multitude of Premier League clubs registering an interest in the Naxos native.
Liverpool and Tottenham have both been linked in the past, while Everton failed in a bid to sign him in January 2012 after the player opted to remain in Greece, having joined Olympiakos just a few months prior.