Arsenal determined to lower asking price for Kostas Manolas

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has sanctioned Gunners chiefs to open talks with Olympiakos over a deal for Kostas Manolas after positive reports from club scouts, but early discussions have seen the Premier League giants fail to agree a fee for the Greek defender.

Wenger is desperate to add a fresh option at centre-back after allowing Thomas Vermaelen to join Barcelona, but the Evening Standard believe Arsenal are not prepared to pay over the odds for a defender who also impressed Manchester United with his performances at the World Cup.

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Asking price holding up deal

Olympiakos won't stand in their young defender's way as he gets tantalisingly close to a dream switch across the continent, but only if Arsenal, United or perhaps even Juventus are prepared to meet their £8m asking price.

Arsenal think that valuation is slightly high and despite fetching a very favourable £15m for Vermaelen are determined to strike a bargain, with talks set to continue while Arsenal begin their bid to earn Champions League qualification for a 17th successive season against Besiktas.

Juve could trump Arsenal with last-ditch offer

Serie A champions Juve are the only other club to have shown a genuine interest in making a late for Manolas as quality defensive cover, but the 23-year-old is thought to have his sights set on playing in the Premier League.

Arsenal have bided their time in the search for much-needed cover at centre-back, despite Per Mertesacker returning for pre-season late thanks to a successful World Cup and Laurent Koscielny's continued achilles problems.

Wenger had Manolas watched extensively by Arsenal scouts during the World Cup though and clearly liked what he heard, giving the green light for Arsenal to thrash out a deal for a promising, powerhouse of a centre-half before the transfer window slams shut.

Champions League could hold the key

Much may depend on qualification for the Champions League group stages though, with Olympiakos already in the competition and providing Manolas with another platform to prove his worth if he does surprisingly decide to stay put this season.

If Arsenal can come through two legs against Besiktas unscathed expect the Gunners to get this deal over the line, as the search goes on to make sure Koscielny, Mertesacker and the impressive Calum Chambers have strong competition for a starting spot across a gruelling campaign to come.

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