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With Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny ageing it is obvious Arsenal may have to sign another centre-back in the summer, especially if Gabriel Paulista ends up leaving. The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from the club having not established himself as a first-team regular over the past 12 months.
In the summer, Arsenal were constantly being linked with a move for AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas. Recently Skysports claim that the Gunners actually made a formal bid for the Greek international which was rejected by the Italian side with reports claiming Arsène Wenger is still very much interested in signing the former Olympiacos defender.
However, unless Wenger and Arsenal makes a fast move, Arsenal are likely to lose out on the services of the 25-year-old centre-back as reports in Italy claim he is close to making a move to Internazionale as they are said to be close to reaching an agreement with the Rome club.
Manolas’ agent had only last week confirmed Roma rejected a £34.6 million bid from Arsenal for the highly-rated defender who has also been linked with both Manchester United and Chelsea. According to Greek media outlet SDNA (as reported by Calciomercatoweb) both Inter and Roma have agreed a fee and all that’s left is for the player to agree personal terms and pass a medical.
If true, this report will be a massive blow to Arsenal as Manolas is one defender who is capable of replacing Koscielny in Arsenal’s defence for the long-term. And if true, it will be a big surprise as one would expect Manolas to move to a club playing in Europe and outside of Serie A. Another thing that makes this story a surprise is the fact that Roma are willing to sell to Inter Milan; a direct rival.
Arsenal’s loss will however be Inter’s gain. The Gunners may have Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi doing very well at the moment but judging by Koscielny’s injury problems and his age, I doubt if he will be as reliable next season as he has been so far over the past few years.