August 9, 2017

Europa League Player Analysis: AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas – Wednesday 9th August

Destined to stay in the Eternal City

Kostas Manolas’ future has been a hot topic this transfer window, with AS Roma’s formidable centre-back being linked with a host of big money moves.

It all started when Russian giants, Zenit FC, looked certain to secure his services last month for a reported €30 Million fee, only for the player to intentionally miss his medical. It was suspected he was waiting for Chelsea to make a play for him, but the real reason for him failing to show up was due to his unwillingness to accept his salary in Russian Rubles instead of Euros, citing the fluctuating nature of the currency as the pivotal factor.

Chelsea, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Juventus all supposedly came close to his signature this summer too, but the €35 million rated warrior’s price tag seems to have been a major deterrent for the aforementioned suitors.

Now, after all the speculation and innuendo, the Greek international appears destined to stay with Roma, which is great news for the Giallorossi, who’ve already lost three Star players in the form of Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger and Leandro Paredes this window.

“Manolas will stay, and he’ll stay at Roma for a long time. If he intended to leave then he wouldn’t renew his contract, but that hasn’t happened and he’s happy to be here,” asserted Roma’s sporting director, Monchi.

Keeping a player of his tremendous quality is undoubtedly a crucial piece of business going into Eusebio Di Francesco’s first season at the club following his arrival from Sassuolo, for he offers great leadership, essential experience and has gotten to know the club so well over his three years in Rome.

Just weeks out from Roma’s Serie A opener, if Roma had lost him, it would’ve been hugely difficult to replace him and would’ve left Roma’s defense in a tangle, especially upon considering Rudiger’s recent departure.

Capable of playing in a central defensive back two or three, plus as the left or right sided side center back, Manolas’ versatility ensures he’s able to fulfill many roles depending on the opponent Roma’s facing or if injuries force a reshuffle. Indeed, this aspect of his game will always give his manager plenty of tactical flexibility as to how best use him.

Moreover, his aggressive and intense approach, in combination with his hulking strength, aerial prowess and above average speed and mobility, make him an ideal candidate to perform any required man marking duties. A ferocious tackler to boot, the 26-year-old never lets his opponents have things their own way and his sheer presence sees him provide an intimidatory element to whoever his opponent is.

Positionally sound with a great awareness, Manolas impressively parlays intelligence with a mastery of the dark arts. By undertaking persistent blindside checks, this gives him a constantly updated mental imagery of his surroundings so he can situate himself in the best possible location to deal with the scenario he’s confronted with.

His accomplished passing ability only serves to further enhance his worth, as he’s very comfortable instigating passing moves out from the back and coping with high pressing adversaries.

Hearing Manolas confirming that he’ll stay put, the Roma faithful will be grateful that Monchi’s words have rung true, so the former Olympiakos prodigy can finally focus on getting on with his football in the Eternal City.

After the turbulent window he’s endured so far, staying put might well be the best outcome for the combative defender ahead of the 2017/2018 crusade.

By @licencetoroam

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