For all their transfer market faults, Roma do have a knack when it comes to finding defenders. From Leandro Castan and Marquinhos to Mehdi Benatia to Federico Fazio, Roma is seemingly always able to find suitable center-backs when the need arises. And several years ago, when they parted ways with Benatia, Roma's center-back assembly line churned out another top defender, Kostas Manolas, who they landed in the summer of 2014 from Olympiakos. And, five seasons, almost 200 appearances later (all comps) and a miracle goal later, it's safe to say Roma have recouped that investment, and then some.
However, now that Manolas is 27-years-old and firmly in the prime of his career, the time to strike for Manolas, in terms of his salary earning potential and title chasing years, is now. While Manolas doesn't appear to be gunning for a new contract in and of itself—he just signed a new pact in December of 2017—the persistent rumors connecting him to the likes of Juventus and Manchester United do, if nothing else, present an opportunity (or more likely a threat) that Manolas will get an even larger pay day and a more immediate shot at glory with another club.
Presumably Roma will try their hardest to keep Manolas, but if the Corriere dello Sport is correct, Monchi is at least trying to make things a bit more difficult for the Mancs and any other club that might find a 27-year-old uber athletic central defender attractive.
According to the CdS, Roma are attempting to increase Manolas’ release clause from the current paltry sum of €36 million to a more appropriate €50 million, which is roughly his market value per Transfermarkt (does the lack of the final e there give anyone else an eye tick?). Better still, Monchi is reportedly hoping to remove the clause all together, thereby allowing Roma to truly set and/or manipulate the market for Manolas.
I always approach these type of stories with caution because contract extensions and release clauses are only as strong as the club's will to keep the player, and we've certainly seen these discussions prior to several sales over the past few years, including the time Roma tried to sell him to Zenit, but Manolas is the best defender (over the long run) that Roma has had in quite some time, delivering not only miracle goals but throttling Juve players by the throat, so I'm not sure he'd be so easily replaced, both in terms of skill and spirit.
But athletic defenders like Manolas are a bit like left-handed pitchers who can hit 90 on the radar gun; they'll always be in demand, so Roma are wise to prepare themselves. We have no idea if Roma will try to sell Manolas again, but bumping up this release clause, if nothing else, ensures that they'll get top dollar if they do.
But, you know, don't. Just don't. Please, Monchi!