Arsenal need immediate help on the back line and must do whatever it takes to fill the void.
The club recently sold veteran Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona and now lack depth at centre-back. Fortunately, Arsene Wenger has Kostas Manolas in his sights, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail:
Arsenal are set to turn to Olympiakos centre-half Kostas Manolas in their search for Thomas Vermaelen's replacement.
Arsene Wenger wants to bolster his central defensive options following Vermaelen's departure to Barcelona. And Manolas, 23, is emerging as a leading contender to fill the void vacated by the Belgium international.
Metro reports the 23-year-old centre-back has an £8 million price tag and that he was pulled out of his club's latest friendly for transfer-related reasons.
This is a reasonable cost to fill a position that has become a priority for Arsenal. Not only does the club need to complete this move, but they have to do it fast.
Wayne Veysey of Goal.com notes why Wenger wants to add a centre-back quickly:
Wenger is looking to push through a quick deal for new centre-back after Vermaelen sale. Also fears over Koscielny achilles tendon injury.— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) August 12, 2014
The squad was comfortable moving on from Vermaelen because Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker had shown they were capable of handling the starting jobs in the middle of the defence. However, the recent injury to Koscielny causes a bit of a mystery at the position.
Even worse, Mertesacker is set to miss the start of the season along with the rest of the German players after winning the World Cup. After finally returning to training, he will take some time to get completely fit.
Do Arsenal need another centre-back?
This is why Wenger admitted after the Community Shield win, "If I can find another centre-back I will do it," via Charlie Eccleshare of the London Evening Standard.
Calum Chambers has fared well in limited time, but he is still just 19 years old and is hard to trust at such an important spot in the English Premier League.
This is where Manolas can be a big help. While he is also young, he has a lot more experience against high-level competition.
The Greek national played every minute of the team's four matches at the World Cup, as the squad allowed just two goals on a run to the round of 16. He has also competed in UEFA Champions League as a member of Olympiakos.
While it is unlikely he beats out a healthy Mertesacker or Koscielny for a spot in the starting XI, Arsenal can trust him at centre-back if needed, and he could easily be an above-average player in the league.
Of course, the lack of playing time could prevent Manolas from making the move. If he is comfortable in his home country on the first team at Olympiakos, it might not necessarily be a smart transfer to become a bench option in England.
However, the Gunners have plenty of opportunities to rotate the lineup throughout the year. Between Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and league play, there will be plenty of chances for Manolas and Chambers to get onto the pitch.
In the future, both of these quality young players could become the permanent fixtures in Arsenal's defence.
This appears to be a great opportunity for the Greek star, and it fills a major need for the Gunners. Both sides have to do whatever they can to complete this deal as soon as possible.
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