The summer is turning into a productive one for Chelsea. Having signed Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi and French defensive midfielder N’golo Kanté, the club are now turning their attention to Roma defender Kostas Manolas.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is well known for the importance he places on having a solid defence and was no doubt troubled by the performances of Gary Cahill at Euro 2016. Add to this the fact that last season’s dismal campaign was rooted in a porous back line and the need to bolster the club’s defensive options is obvious.
As reported by Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, Chelsea are now set to match the wage offered by Arsenal in an effort to coax the Greek from Roma.
Manolas currently earns €1.5 million per year at AS Roma but both Chelsea and Arsenal are said to have tabled offers of €4 million and, of course, a chance to play in the biggest league in the world. Such offers are understandably tempting for the 25-year-old defender.
— Roma Fans (@RomaNewsOnly) July 16, 2016
Last season saw Chelsea’s defence sliced open by mid table sides regularly. John Terry’s regular lapses gave credence to the idea that age is eventually catching up with him even though his leadership qualities are still crucial.
Branislav Ivanovic’s fall from grace was nothing short of spectacular, as he displayed his lack of pace, urgency and concern for the Chelsea cause with alarming regularity. Even in a team of misfiring millionaires, Ivanovic attracted more scorn than most and Conte’s eager pursuit of a replacement is of no surprise.
Manolas would certainly be an upgrade for both clubs. He has earned a reputation in Serie A for his astute tackling and blocking, and such qualities will be high on the wish list of both clubs if they are to mount serious title challenges this season.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena