Since arriving as Mehdi Benatia’s replacement in the summer of 2014, Kostas Manolas has quickly and quietly clawed his way up the Serie A ladder. Manolas, once seen as merely a physical specimen lacking in the finer points of the game, has transformed into one of the league’s top defenders over the past two seasons. Greece Lightnings unbridled athleticism has finally been imbued with a better understanding and eye for the game, giving Roma an increasingly coveted asset.
Last season, only his second with the club, was a banner year for Manolas. In 37 total appearances, Manolas led Serie A with 211 total duels won, including an astounding 115 aerials, of which he won 76%. Manolas also finished 16th in the league in clearances and 5th in blocks, all while completing 87% of his passes, scoring two goals and providing two assists. And all of this came when he was only 24-years-old. Remarkable.
Manolas’ size, speed and a rapidly improving understanding of the game hasn’t gone unnoticed in the footballing world, as he’s drawn the eyes of all the usual clubs, most notably Arsenal and Chelsea. This has, quite naturally, made many Roma fans nervous. Given their relatively restricted finances and penchant for selling talented defenders (Marquinhos, Benatia, Romagnoli, Jedvaj etc), it’s not far fetched to see the club cashing in on Manolas, now that they would no longer have to hand over a portion of the profits to Olympiacos.
However, if you believe this report, Roma are making inroads with Manolas’ representatives over a new contract, one that will pay him handsomely, we might add. Il Tempo reports that Manolas’ agent, Yannis Evangelopoulos, and the club are brokering a new contract that would triple Manolas’ salary to €4.5 million, though the length of this proposed deal wasn’t included in the report.
Needless to say, stepping up to the plate and locking down Manolas sends a strong signal for Roma’s future intentions. Sure, the English clubs could top that salary without blinking, but tripling his salary and presumably locking him down for three to four years sends a strong message to not only Manolas and the rest of his suitors, but to the rest of the club.
Taking the initiative, paying the man what he’s worth, and removing him from the transfer market communicates a level of commitment and financial competitiveness this club is sometime lacking. We can take that sentence and compound it tenfold if the club is able to retain Kevin Strootman and workout a manageable solution for Daniele De Rossi’s future with the club.
Manolas is the absolute rock of Roma’s defense and is worth every penny he’s about to earn.