Arsenal hold fresh talks to sign Kostas Manolas

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Arsenal held a fresh round talks with the advisor of Greek defender Kostas Manolas on Friday afternoon and are closing in on a deal for an important fifth summer signing, according to

Manolas looks the most likely final addition to Arsene Wenger's squad as a direct replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who was allowed to complete a £15m move to Barcelona without cover lined up in central defence at the Emirates.

Luckily for Arsenal fans £16m summer signing Calum Chambers has stepped up and shown composure beyond his 19 years to cover in that position in three competitive matches so far this season, but Wenger is still desperate to add in that department and as a result negotiations over £8m-rated Manolas continue.

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Gunners determined to haggle

Wenger sanctioned Gunners chiefs to approach Olympiakos with a formal transfer enquiry for Manolas at the beginning of this week, but was slightly disappointed to be quoted that £8m asking price.

Olympiakos are reluctant to accept any less for the 23-year-old, who impressed Arsenal scouts with his performances for Greece during a run to the last 16 of the World Cup finals.

Serie A duo Juventus, Roma and even Manchester United have also been monitoring Manolas closely, but Arsenal remain in the driving seat to win this transfer tussle if they can reach a compromise with Olympiakos over an acceptable transfer fee.

Time running out

Manolas' agent Mino Raiola is in England and has spoke to Arsenal on at least one occasion about the versatile defender, but he's very much a man in-demand at the moment and also represents Liverpool-bound striker Mario Balotelli.

Arsenal want the deal structured with payments over a set period, but Olympiakos have made it clear they'll only accept those terms if £8m is offered and otherwise want the whole transfer fee up front.

The Gunners now have 10 days to make sure they're not caught short of defensive options this season and that deadline may force a rethink to get this deal over the line, despite Per Mertesacker's return to the first-team squad ahead of this weekend's clash with Everton at Goodison Park.

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