Kostas Manolas

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Napoli, loading up to dethrone Juve, sign defensive rock Manolas

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Napoli have seen enough of Juventus waltzing their way to Serie A title after Serie A title — eight straight of them, to be specific — and Carlo Ancelotti’s side appear hellbent on doing everything in their power to end their nearly decade-long reign.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

On Saturday, Napoli, who have finished second behind Juve three of the last four seasons, announced their $41-million signing of Roma defender Kostas Manolas, one of the Italian league’s most consistent performers the last few seasons. Not only is Napoli’s squad strengthened by the addition, but Roma’s squad is weakened by the subtraction.

Manolas, 28, made more than 200 appearances in five seasons at Roma.

Following the arrival of James Rodriguez last month, Napoli clearly believe they can close the gap, which finished at 11 points last season, on Juve and make a legitimate title challenge.

[ MORE: Matthijs de Ligt left off Ajax roster for start of preseason ]

The only problem is: while Napoli have made a large signal of intent by signing Manolas, Juve appear set to make a gigantic move for Matthijs de Ligt, one of the highest rated prospects to play the same position in quite some time.

It’ll be an uphill battle, as always, but Napoli aren’t shying away from the challenge.

Mane to Real Madrid; Manolas to Man United?

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Now that you’ve all recovered from the January transfer window, it is time to focus on the summer transfer window.

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After all, the transfer window opens in just a few months time for Premier League clubs. With that in mind, here are couple of juicy rumors doing the rounds…

A report from France Football claims that Zinedine Zidane wants to make Liverpool’s Sadio Mane one of his first big signings back at Real Madrid.

Mane, 26, only signed a new contract with Liverpool in November but the Senegalese flyer has been in sensational form in recent months and is carrying their hopes of winning the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. Per the report, Zidane is a huge fan of Mane and wanted to sign him in the summer of 2018 before he abruptly left Real.

Mane has scored 20 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season, and has scored 11 times in his last 11 games. And besides his improving goalscoring record he has the one thing modern teams want: blistering pace.

Whether or not Mane could be tempted to leave Liverpool this summer remains to be seen, but if they do win either the PL title or the UCL, is that a good time for Mane to move on?

He may believe it won’t get any better than that, but leaving Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and breaking up that partnership would certainly upset Liverpool fans and neutrals alike. Zizou plans to rebuild this ageing Real team and it is quite right that he wants Mane to be the future of their attack alongside the likes of Vinicius Junior.


Man United’s plans to sign a new center back haven’t been a secret for some time now. We just weren’t sure if that was a priority since Jose Mourinho left and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived as the new caretaker manager.

It appears getting in a new commanding center half is still a top priority for the Red Devils.

A report from Calciomercato in Italy has linked United with a move for Roma and Greece defender Kostas Manolas, with the 27-year-old said to have a $39.8 million release clause in his contract if Roma do not qualify for the Champions League. They are currently four points off the top four with 10 games left in Serie A.

The powerful Greek defender has been a regular at Roma over the past five seasons and was influential in their run to the Champions League semifinals last season. With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling handed new contracts recently, United’s policy when it comes to retaining their current center backs is strange.

Victor Lindelof has improved drastically under Solskjaer, but it seems like both Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo will be sold this summer. Toby Alderweireld and Kalidou Koulibaly have both been linked with moves to United, and having Manolas and Alderweireld as center backs, with one of Lindelof, Smalling and Jones alongside them in a 3-4-3 formation could work very well.

Roma stuns Barca to reach UCL semis

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Daniele De Rossi was already a Roma legend; After a goal and assist in a monumental comeback win over Barcelona, i Lupi’s captain is gonna get himself a statue

Edin Dzeko and Kosta Manolas and AS Roma also scored in the 3-0 win over Barcelona, turning the tie on its ear by advancing via its first leg away goal in a 4-4 draw over two legs in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Dzeko scored the goal in the first leg.

Barcelona loses a monumental lead one year after its glorious comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roma nabbed a quick lead, with De Rossi opening up the top of the Barcelona back line and Dzeko delivering a sixth minute goal.

And the roles were reversed, in a sense, when Dzeko earned a penalty out of Gerard Pique and De Rossi converted his chance to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Another goal without answer would put Roma through on away markers.

Manolas then flicked a header home off a corner kick to send the Stadio Olimpico into ecstasy. It would need to hold Barca scoreless for eight more minutes.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Greece defender Manolas handed World Cup playoff ban

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has suspended Greece defender Kostas Manolas from a World Cup playoff match for trying to manipulate his disciplinary record.

FIFA said Manolas was judged to be guilty of “intentionally seeking a yellow card” in a World Cup qualifying game. It triggered a one-match ban which he served in Greece’s final qualifier, cleaning his record for the playoffs.

[ PL PREVIEW: West Ham vs. Liverpool ]

The FIFA sanction announced Friday is an additional ban for deception.

Manolas will miss the first leg of the playoffs at Croatia on Thursday. He is eligible for the return game three days later in Greece.

The Roma defender was shown a yellow card for timewasting in the 90th minute of Greece’s 2-1 win at Cyprus. He then sat out a home game against Gibraltar three days later, which Greece won 4-0.

Report: Arsenal still monitoring Manolas following unsuccessful bid

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Arsenal may have a second crack at signing one of Serie A’s more promising defensive prospects ahead of next season.

[ MORE: Ranieri encouraged by UCL start, hopes Foxes can rekindle PL form ]

According to Sport, the Gunners could revisit their pursuit for Greek international Kostas Manolas next summer in the event that Per Mertesacker leaves the team after the 2016/17 season.

The club nearly acquired the 25-year-old this past summer but Arsenal failed to agree to a fee with Roma. With reports suggesting that Per Mertesacker could exit the Emirates following this season, Manolas is believed to be the team’s top target to replace the aging defender.

Arsene Wenger could have some competition for Manolas, though, with both Barcelona and Manchester City believed to be in the running for his services.