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Arsene Wenger has been quoted £8 million for the Greece international and is keen to tie up a quick deal following concerns over the fitness of Laurent Koscielny

By Wayne Veysey ¦ Chief Correspondent

Arsenal have opened talks with Olympiakos over a move for defender Kostas Manolas, Goal understands.

Arsene Wenger has sanctioned a formal approach for the Greece international after identifying him as a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona last weekend.

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The Gunners have been quoted a fee of £8 million by Olympiakos for Manolas during preliminary discussions.

The centre-back, 23, played in the Champions League for his club last season and featured for Greece in this summer's World Cup.

Wenger wants to push through a quick deal for a new centre-back after selling Vermaelen and amid growing fears over the fitness of Laurent Koscielny.

The Frenchman has a long-standing Achilles problem and his availability for the early season matches is in doubt after he was substituted with the injury during the Gunners' Community Shield win over Manchester City.

Wenger wants a proven defender to join new signing Calum Chambers in providing cover for his established defensive pairing of Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, who only returned to Arsenal on Monday following the World Cup.

The Arsenal boss has competition to sign Manolas, who has attracted interest from a number of Serie A clubs led by Juventus and Napoli.

With three weeks of the transfer window remaining, Wenger is also in the market for a midfield anchorman who can provide cover for the centre-back position.

 

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