Potential Consequences: Man United chasing Roma sensation Kostas Manolas

Manchester United have been identified by TuttoMercatoWeb as a potential suitor for AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas, who could be snatched from the Italian outfit for an astoundingly low fee.

The 27-year-old centre-back is among the elite defenders in Europe, yet his contract at the Serie A club, which expires in 2022, holds a release clause of just €36million (£32.51million).

TuttoMercatoWeb are now suggesting that the Red Devils and Paris Saint-Germain have declared an interest in activating the clause, but note that they do not expect either the club or Manolas himself to warm to a mid-season switch, with the Greek international very close to the Roma cause.

Nonetheless, Manolas is clearly in United’s transfer thoughts, so Football FanCast consider below the potential consequences of the centre-half arriving at Old Trafford in the near future…

Koulibaly move axed

As well as Manolas, United have been linked recently with another move for a Serie A defender in the form of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Unlike the 39-cap Greece international, however, the Senegalese would cost the Old Trafford outfit a staggering fee potentially in excess of a previously rejected £95million, with suggestions a €120million offer would be needed to open negotiations.

If AS Roma are unable to negotiate a new deal for Manolas to remove the release clause, and United can successfully activate it, Ed Woodward would likely see no need in seeking the signature of both defenders.

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Improving defensive record continues

Before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came on board to steady the ship from a turbulent end to Jose Mourinho’s time at the helm, the Old Trafford faithful regularly witnessed an inconsistent and leaky defence.

After 17 games, the goal difference for Manchester United was a shocking zero – scoring exactly as many as they shipped at the other end.

The tides may be changing following the Portuguese’s departure, with United conceding three goals while firing home 14 times in the four games since, but the presence of an elite level defender would continue the improvement and form the base of a title assault next season.

Since the 27-year-old moved to Olympiacos in 2012, Manolas has registered a clearance every 16.7 minutes, an interception every 43.6 and a successful tackle every 57.9.

Phil Jones allowed to leave

Heading into the second half of the 2018/19 season, Manchester United have nine first-team players with contracts expiring in the summer.

The likes of David De Gea, Anthony Martial, and Antonio Valencia are included in that list, although the club holds options to extend their current deals by a further year.

Phil Jones, on the other hand, is not one of those with an extension clause, per TransferMarkt, meaning the 27-cap England international could be set to leave for free.

The arrival of Manolas would easily make Jones’ place in the squad void, given Chris Smalling was handed a new deal in December, Victor Lindelof is proving a key addition and Eric Bailly represents greater potential.