Barcelona have secured a preference option to sign AS Roma centre-back Kostas Manolas as part of a recent deal that has saw Thomas Vermaelen moving on loan to the Serie A giants for the 2016-2017 campaign, according to La Gazetta Dello Sport. Manchester United, Manchester City and especially Chelsea have all been recently linked with the Greek international defender but it seems the Catalans could scupper their transfer hopes by matching their offers.
The La Liga and Copa del Rey Champions confirmed the departure of Vermalen to Roma earlier this week after the Belgium international fell out of favour with manager Luis Enrique.
Barcelona confirmed the deal included an option for the Italians to secure his services on a permanent basis at the end of the season and a surprising clause in which Roma agreed to give Vermaelen regular playing time during his time at the club,
"The Italian club contractually agrees that the participation of the player remains active during the loan. The agreement includes an option for Roma to buy the player at the end of the 2016/17 season," Barcelona stated.
Reports have since suggested that Roma will not pay a fee for the loan of the defender but will need to shell out around €10m should they opt to buy him at the end of the campaign.
La Gazetta Dello Sport reports that the Serie A giants also agreed to sweeten the deal by giving Barcelona a first option over Manolas in future.
The news would be a big blow for the Premier League giants as it means that Barcelona could be able to match other offers to secure the services of the coveted centre-back in future transfer negotiations.
The 25-year-old defender was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in 2014 before he opted to move to Roma. The three Premier League clubs' interest in the player was confirmed last month by his agent and according to The Sun could be available for around £25m ($32.7m).
"The best clubs in Europe want him. There isn't just Manchester City, but also United and Chelsea," Ioannis Evangelopoulos said as quoted by The Sun. "I haven't spoken with Roma for a while. Will he remain in the capital? No comment."
The two Manchester clubs are unlikely to make a move for the centre-back after having already signed Eric Bailly and John Stones respectively. However, Chelsea are still in the hunt for a new centre-back amid reports linking them with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Sunderland's Lamine Kone.