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The Gunners have been pursuing the Olympiakos centre-back as a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen and are nearing a deal after Arsene Wenger sanctioned an £8m move

By Wayne Veysey

Arsenal closed in on the signing of Kostas Manolas on Friday as they held fresh talks with his representatives, Goal can reveal.

The Gunners are working on a deal to sign the defender from Olympiakos after opening negotiations with the Greek club last week.

Manolas' advisers flew into the UK to step up talks about the structure of the deal and to discuss personal terms.

Arsenal have been quoted a fee of £8m by Olympiakos for Manolas although the Greek club could be willing to accept a lower figure if all of the costs are paid up front.

Goal revealed last week that Arsene Wenger had sanctioned a formal move for the Greece international after identifying him as a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona a fortnight ago.

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 deal for a new centre-back to join rookie Calum Chambers in providing cover for established pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

The Arsenal boss has competition to sign Manolas, who has attracted interest from Manchester United, Juventus and Napoli.

With 10 days of the transfer window remaining, Wenger is also in the market for a midfield anchorman who might also be able to provide cover for the centre-back position.

As revealed by Goal, Arsenal have had a £20million bid for Portugal international William Carvalho rejected by Sporting Lisbon.

They are expected to wait to see if they can overcome Besiktas in their Champions League qualifier - with the tie goal-less ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium next week - before upping their offer for Carvalho.

The Gunners are also monitoring the availability of Sami Khedira, who has rejected a new Real Madrid contract and could leave the Bernabeu in the final days of the window.

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