Kostas Manolas' future is finally decided with the confirmation he has joined Roma.
The club confirmed the deal via its Twitter account:
Speculation surrounding the Greek centre-back's destination can now be put to bed. Although Arsenal were originally thought to be leading the way for Manolas' signature, reported by Wayne Veysey of Goal.com, the Gunners have missed their opportunity to snap Olympiacos' departing defender up.
Football writer Graeme Bailey believes the English side were real competitors for the player before Roma swooped:
Kostas Manolas is now very much in Roma's sights after his move to Arsenal broke down - they could not agree terms with Olympiakos.— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) August 26, 2014
Manolas is tall, powerful and has a decent turn of speed. The 23-year-old is an aggressive tackler and strives to close the opposition down with haste, a desire that occasionally leaves him out of position and further up the field than he should be.
Even so, he has put in some decent performances across the Champions League and World Cup this year, marking his potential with an air of authority.
Roma have brought the player in as a replacement for Mehdi Benatia, whose move to Bayern Munich was confirmed by Gianluca di Marzio via James Horncastle of BT Sport:
Per @DiMarzio, agreement reached for Benatia. Bayern to pay Roma €26m plus €4m in add-ons. 5-yr deal for player. €4m p/a. Medical tomorrow— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 26, 2014
Benatia best CB in Europe for me last season. Zeman leaving, him arriving huge drop in goals conceded. Big shoes for Manolas/Astori to fill— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 26, 2014
The Italian side are used to buying low and selling high, as noted by both Benatia and Marquinhos' route out of the club across the past year, per Transfermarkt.com. Manolas will need to immediately hit top form if he is to make up for the loss of Benatia, but he is headstrong enough to post a positive impression from the off.
Is Kostas Manolas the right replacement for Mehdi Benatia?
Roma have worked avidly across the summer to improve their squad. Rudi Garcia has zoned in on defensive improvements, snapping up the likes of Ashley Cole and Davide Astori to close the gap on Juventus. A chasm of 17 points separated the winners from Roma in second last season, underlining the size of Garcia's task.
The Bianconeri have parted ways with Antonio Conte over the summer and may suffer fallout under new boss Massimiliano Allegri, who has a difficult act to follow in Turin. Garcia has built a strong Roma squad—one that boasts a mix of experience and improving talent—meaning the capital-based side can be optimistic of gaining ground despite the departure of a star player.
Manolas is likely to be given responsibility right from the off. He rarely shies away from a challenge and is the right type of character to assert his dominance early on. Garcia has options to utilise alongside Leandro Castan, who will be looking to establish a positive relationship with the incoming central defenders.
While Manolas faces a real challenge to fill the boots of Benatia, he is a typical Roma signing. Don't be surprised to see the centre-back move on for a higher sum in the future, a tradition that is becoming annual at the Stadio Olimpico.