Media outlet Sky Sports are reporting that Everton have made contact with Italian side AS Roma over their central defender Kostas Manolas. He has been at the Roman club since the beginning of the 2014-15 season after a £10.8m move from Olympiakos, and has made 106 appearances for the Giallorossi in various competitions, scoring twice and assisting four times.
Everton are looking to solidify their backline while getting younger, and adding the 25-year-old Greece international would be a marked improvement. Captain Phil Jagielka is 34 and has faded rapidly, while new addition Ashley Williams has been strong but is 32. Ramiro Funes Mori is 25 as well, but has struggled with consistency.
Manolas is well-capable of bringing the ball out from the defence which is an ability Everton have lost since the sale of John Stones. The Greek player has been relatively injury free over the last three years, without missing any stretches of games.
Ironically, Everton had the option of buying the defender for just £500,000 back in 2012, but the cash-strapped Toffees at the time weren’t able to swing the finances having just purchased striker Nikica Jelavic.
The defender has also been linked with a number of other clubs in the Premier League, chiefly Chelsea and Liverpool. However, it does appear it will take a lot of money to prise the player away from Roma who are currently in second place in the Serie A and will be left with a centre back pairing of London club rejects Federico Fazio and Thomas Vermaelen should they choose to sell him.
In an interesting twist to the story though, the Italian club’s Director of Football is in the United Kingdom to specifically discuss incoming transfers, including AC Milan and Middlesbrough target Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu.
#roma dir of football Ricky Massara is in London for talks over #cfc Charly Musonda, #whufc Sofiane Feghouli & #efc Gerard Deulofeu [Sky It] https://t.co/q4h2HFgfaA— Scouts in Attendance (@scoutsattending) January 6, 2017
Should Manolas really be on the table, then a swap deal plus money would go a long way towards manager Ronald Koeman’s vision of a strong Everton side with strong defending.