Rumors circulating around AS Roma centre-back Mehdi Benatia went into overdrive on Saturday after Sky Sports reporter Jim White tweeted news that the AS Roma defender was on his way to Manchester United.
That news was quickly followed by reports of the player flying to England to speak to United officials.
Those reports were quickly refuted by officials at the Italian club within 24 hours.
But soon after, it was speculated that Bayern Munich had jumped into the mix and were the “favorites” to sign the Morocco international. Fresh rumors surfaced on Sunday that the German club’s technical director Michael Reschke had flown to Italy to hold talks with Roma officials.
The speculation being that manager Pep Guardiola wanted to bring Benatia in as a replacement for Javi Martinez, who was injured last week during Bayern’s 2-0 loss in the DFL-Supercup.
But Bayern Munich denied reports Reschke traveling to Italy.
This morning, AS Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini reportedly put a deadline of August 24 for any deal with Benatia; the word being that Roma now wanted a bid of £28m for the centre-back’s services.
Now, Sky Italia’s Angelo Mangiante has given an interview with a ReteSport (which is the home to AS Roma broadcasts) in which he stated that Benatia will re-sign with the Italian club for a significant increase in wages.
The Morocco international has been embroiled in contract negotiations for most of the summer. He has turned down renewal offers from Roma and has been rumored to be a transfer target of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United since the end of last season.
If Mangiante’s statement is correct regarding an agreement between the club and Benatia, it appears the past few days have shaken up officials at Roma and they have loosen the grip on their checkbook.
Stay tuned to how this unfolds over the next 48 hours. There could be more twists.