Silly season hasn't even officially opened, yet we've been fixated on the futures of Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic, and for good reason, they're two of the hottest commodities on the transfer market, Roma or otherwise. As a result, we've sort of blissfully ignored the undercurrent of Kostas Manolas rumors floating out there. While he was initially an object of desire for Chelsea, Antonio Conte's next passion project as apparently turned off by Manolas' €40 million price tag, resulting in the dearth of rumors lately.
Ah, but yes, there is another well moneyed English suitor after our beloved Greece Lightning, the recently disgraced Red Devils of Manchester United. With several years of embarrassment on their backs and with the Special One in tow, you can bet your bottom dollar that, well, United will shell out a lot of dollars this summer; presumably on the order of hundreds of millions of them.
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic figures to eat up a sizeable chunk of that, at least in terms of salaries, with United's roster in relative shambles, Jose Mourinho figures to do what any smart manager would; build from the back, and what better way to do that than with a young, athletic and aggressive center back like Manolas.
Sky Italia reported earlier today that not only are the Mancs interested, but they've already met with Manolas' agent. Now, before you get in a tizzy, these reported meeting seldom turn into anything concrete, at least not initially. What should worry you, however, is what we just mentioned; United reeks of desperation and Mourinho isn't the world's most patient man, so they have ample reason, not mention ability, to outspend any team on the planet for virtually any player on the planet.
However, as we mentioned earlier in the spring, there is a delightful little footnote in Manolas' contract that states Olympiacos, the club from whom Roma purchased him, are entitled to 50% of his sale price if he's moved before September 1, 2016.
While Sky Italia claims there is a loophole in this deal (a loan with a mandatory option to buy), I'm not buying it--I can't imagine Olympiacos would be so shortsighted to overlook such an obvious work around, one that could potentially cost them €20 million.
But you know what they say, where there's a will there's a way, and United certainly has the will to make this purchase, so stay tuned.
In any event, Manolas, while still rough around the edges, is blossoming into one of the league's top defenders and Roma would be foolish to part ways with him, especially when they only stand to reap half the financial windfall.