Arsene Wenger is ready to add Kostas Manolas to his list of summer signings after the Greek defender completed a medical with Arsenal, according to reports.
Wenger looks to have acted quickly when replacing Thomas Vermaelen and is expected to wrap up a deal for the £8 million Manolas soon, per James Orr of The Independent. The Arsenal boss previously confirmed, "If I can find another centre-back I will do it," per Goal.com's William Joyce.
The North London club may face competition when confirming the deal, however, as reported by Wayne Veysey of Goal.com:
Manolas looks to be a smart signing for the Gunners, who are set to welcome another young star into their ranks. He is experienced in the Champions League and on the international stage at the age of 23, having completed five seasons in Greece's top division with AEK Athens and Olympiacos. He is likely to move from the latter after spending two years with the Piraeus-based club.
Wenger has seen an instant return on Calum Chambers, another young defender, whom he signed from Southampton in time for the new season. The 19-year-old has repaid the manager's faith with strong performances in the Community Shield win over Manchester City and during the Gunners' Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
Arsenal's start to the season has been made more difficult after Laurent Koscielny (foot) and Kieran Gibbs (hamstring) picked up knocks, per Josh Reich of Reuters (via the Daily Mail).
Per Mertesacker is also working to regain fitness after Germany's World Cup win, highlighting the need for additional strength in depth at the heart of defence. Wenger underlined his lack of numbers by playing Nacho Monreal at centre-back in pre-season, an occurrence that would appear desperate in competitive matches.
Manolas is an aggressive, hard-working defender who possesses an eye for goal. He netted two in seven appearances during last season's Champions League, per WhoScored.com, and can quickly develop his game under Wenger.
The likely new signing could be joined by Manchester City's Matija Nastasic, who has been deemed surplus to requirements by Manuel Pellegrini, per Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star. Nastasic has proven himself useful in the Premier League and has the attributes to be a future leader in a top team.
At 21 years old, he can count himself unlucky to be pushed aside in favour of new signing Eliaquim Mangala, Martin Demichelis and Dedryck Boyata, as his partnership with Vincent Kompany has served City well. Wenger would be snapping up a player who could contribute immediately if Nastasic was to arrive, as he offers both squad depth and potentially a top signing for the future.
Both Manolas and Nastasic would be excellent understudies to Koscielny and Mertesacker. Vitally, either could slot into the team with a minimum of fuss. Chambers could also be pushed forward into the defensive midfield role Wenger so desperately needs to fill, instead of making up for any injuries suffered at the back.
Wenger has signed well this summer but must ensure he has a powerful defensive midfielder ready to be deployed by the time the transfer window closes on September 1. Arsenal continue to grow in confidence and will be hoping to sustain their title challenge this year, making players of Manolas' ilk vital to maintaining confidence and freshness across all four fronts.