With Chelsea having been encouraged to make a late bid for Roma defender Kostas Manolas, according to Sky sources, we profile the Greece international.
Manolas was due to complete a £30m move to Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday, however, he did not arrive for his planned medical.
The centre-back has been offered a five-year deal by Zenit, but the 26-year-old has also been on a list of defensive targets Chelsea have been monitoring as they attempt to replace John Terry at Stamford Bridge.
And the news that his planned transfer to Russia may have hit a snag could tempt the Blues into making a move for Manolas, but who exactly is the highly regarded Greek? We take a closer look…
Name: Konstantinos Manolas
Place of birth: Naxos, Greece
Position: Central defender
Club: AS Roma
Manolas began his career with Thrasyvoulos, making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2009. The central defender then joined AEK Athens that summer after being scouted by the club’s technical director and his uncle Stelios Manolas.
During his three years in the Greek capital, Manolas became a firm favourite with the club’s fans, and even once carried on playing in a game against rivals Olympiakos after breaking his cheekbone.
Despite forming a strong partnership at the back with experienced Greece international Traianos Dellas and helping AEK win the Greek Cup in 2011, the defender moved to Olympiakos on a free transfer in July 2012.
Manolas won the league and cup double in his debut season in Piraeus, with the club retaining their title the following campaign. However, after signing a one-year contract extension in March 2014, the player joined Roma for £10.3m after shining for his country at that summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
He was given the daunting task of replacing Medhi Benatia, who had completed a move to Bayern Munich, at the Stadio Olimpico. But in his three seasons in Rome, the player has caught the eye with a number of impressive displays.
Style of play
Manolas is a strong, powerful, all-round defender with pace to burn, qualities that would serve him well were he to play in the fast-paced Premier League. He also has a reputation as being one of the best markers in Serie A.
In essence, Manolas is a good old-fashioned centre-back with a fondness for tackling. Last season, the defender averaged 1.2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1.1 fouls, 5.3 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game in Serie A, according to Whoscored.com.
Manolas, who has been capped 29 times by his country, signed a five-year contract when joining Roma in August 2014.
However, after refusing to extend his deal at the Stadio Olimpico last October, the Giallorossi have decided to offload Manolas this summer rather than risk losing him for nothing in two years’ time.
All that needs to be decided now then is whether Manolas competes his big-money move to Zenit, or has a late change of heart and moves elsewhere instead.
Did you know?
Manolas’ uncle is renowned former AEK defender Stelios Manolas, who won 71 Greek caps between 1982 and 1995.
What he said
“I had offers from several big clubs, including Juventus. But it was my decision to come here to Roma,” Manolas revealed after joining Roma.
What they said
“Kostas is a Roma player and anyone who wants him will have to ask the club. All I can say is he has a contract until 2019,” the player’s agent, Ioannis Evangelopoulos, told Tuttomercatoweb in April 2015.
“Roma paid a lot for him and that means they have a lot of expectations for him.”Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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