Arsenal target £8m World Cup defender - Vermaelen deal closer?

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Arsenal have been linked with a move to sign Greek international Kostas Manolas – as a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen.

The Gunners look set to retool parts of their defence, with right back a primary concern after the departure of Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, and now manager Arsene Wenger will have to bring in a centre back with Belgian international Vermaelen seemingly edging closer to the exit door.

The 28-year-old has been strongly linked with an £11m move to Manchester United in recent weeks, but speculation this week had suggested that Wenger would hold the deal until he managed to bring in a suitable replacement for the former Ajax man, with cover certainly needed for first choice central defensive pairing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

There haven't been many names linked with replacing Vermaelen so far, but with the World Cup taking most of the attention over the last month, new players are always attracting the interest of Premier League managers - which could be where Greek international Manolas comes in.

The 23-year-old joined Olympiacos from AEK Athens in 2012, and continues to have a growing reputation around Europe after his impressive World Cup displays in Fernando Santos' defence in Brazil. Everton have previously been linked with a move to sign Manolas, but now Arsenal have reportedly turned their attention to the defender.

An £8m asking price is reportedly on Manolas' head, and whilst they allegedly face competition from Serie A champions Juventus, the Gunners could press ahead with a move for the Greek star with Vermaelen now on the verge of a switch to Old Trafford.

Adding a younger defender with great potential would be a wise move for Wenger, and he'd even come with money to spare from the expected sale of Vermaelen - which could accelerate with interest in a centre back.

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