Arsenal in pole position to sign 27-year-old Serie A defender

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Chelsea long-term target and Roma centre-back Kostas Manolas is being pursued by their direct Premier League rivals Arsenal.

It has been reported by Il Messaggero that the Gunners are prepared to fork out the defender’s £31.5m release clause in an attempt to strengthen their defensive options.

The Greece international defender has been with Serie A giants AS Roma for the majority of his football career, having signed for free from the Olympiacos back in 2014. He is highly-rated in with his defensive abilities. but, he has so far decided to remain in the Italian top-tier.

The player has yet to secure any major trophies with AS Roma, so may look to make a move away to add some other titles.

West London club may be the more suited destination for the Greek defender with the Blues securing a place in the Champion League next campaign.

Although should the Gunners win the Europa League final they will be able to play in the Champions League, either team could be a good fit for the defender.

With Gary Cahill set to leave the club in the summer, it is important that current Blues boss Maurizio Sarri looks to deepen the team and could add the Greek international defender to his collection of strong central defenders including Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz.

However, with the possibility of a transfer ban could give Arsenal the edge in the transfer race to secure the services of the 28-year-old defender.