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Roma firms up its worrisome defense with Manolas

AP - Sports

ROME (AP) -- Greece international Kostas Manolas has joined Roma on a €13 million ($17 million) transfer from Olympiakos, as coach Rudi Garcia looks to strengthen his worrisome defense before Serie A starts this weekend.

Roma said Tuesday it had signed the center back to a five-year contract.

Manolas is an immediate replacement for Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia, whom Roma sold to Bayern Munich in a deal reported at €26 million ($34 million), also on Tuesday.

Roma has conceded 11 goals in nine preseason friendlies and Garcia had recently expressed concern entering the final week of the transfer market.

Manolas is coming off a solid season with Olympiakos and also stood out for Greece at the World Cup.

The transfer fee could reach €15 million (nearly $20 million) with bonuses.

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