Manchester United may have missed out on the signing of former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, but Louis van Gaal has wasted little time in identifying Greek youngster Kostas Manolas as an alternative.
Reports from Italian source TuttoSport claim that Van Gaal has entered the race for the Olympiacos star’s signature, and will now compete with the likes of AS Roma and Juventus to determine his future. The 23-year-old, who has made 13 appearances for the Greece national side and participated in this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, is tipped to have a bright future, and his age means that he could be easily moulded into whatever role United need him to fill.
The general consensus is that Van Gaal has been left reeling after Vermaelen’s snub, as he believed that a money-no-object proposal would have negated Arsene Wenger’s concerns over selling to a title rival. Yet it’s Catalonia that the Belgian international will call home as of next season, not Old Trafford, and so United have been sent firmly back to the drawing board.
It’s widely thought that Van Gaal is looking for a defensive leader to take command on the back three he is looking to construct, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, rated at £30 million, and Roma’s Mehdi Benatia, valued at £30 million also, high on the list. The pair have an abundance of top-level pedigree between them, and either man would ideally steady the ship alongside such characters as Phil Jones and Jonny Evans.
Benatia/ Manolas predicament
In a strange turn of events it seems, at least according to TuttoSport, that it could be Roma who have the final say on who it is Van Gaal bags this summer. The Italian giants want Manolas themselves as a replacement for Benatia, and if they get the youngster will sell the Moroccan to United.
However, if certain issues can be resolved quickly then they may drop their interest in the Olympiacos man, leaving the Red Devils virtually free to move in.