Reports of Mehdi Benatia joining Bayern Munich from AS Roma appear to have been premature, as the defender’s transfer saga continues with more twists.
The Morocco international was rumored to make the switch to Manchester United on Saturday, then speculation in Italy was he would renew his contract with Roma this week, and yesterday it was reported that his agent Moussa Sissoko had reached a deal on personal terms with Bayern Munich; subject to the clubs reaching agreement for Benatia.
Now, reports in Italy are saying that Bayern have prepared an offer of £24 million for the defender, but Roma are holding out for at least £28 million and want to hear from other potential buyers.
The Italian side have apparently decided to start a bidding war for Benatia’s services; which will not effect the Serie A club either way because the 27-year-old is currently under contract with Roma.
Gazzetta dello Sport claims that AS Roma’s director of football Walter Sabatini is holding transfer talks with Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal today.
This following the news that Benatia turned down an increased offer from Roma, which would have seen him earn £1.6m (after taxes) annually, plus added performance bonuses.
Tancredi Palmeri, a contributor to CNN and Gazzetta dello Sport, has been on top of the Benatia transfer developments since very early in the summer. He tweeted these statements on his official Twitter account moments ago:
Palmeri also stated that he believes Bayern Munich are still the “favorites” to land Benatia because the club have responded “quickly” to Roma’s increasing demands (a statement that may throw a section of Manchester United fans into a tizzy).
Chelsea are still rumored to be in the mix. But the club would need to sell at least one foreign player before they could sign Benatia, because they would be exceeding their allowed quota under Premier League rules.
Although Manchester United have signed Argentina international Marcos Rojo to bolster their defense, the twenty-time champions of England are still very short of options on that side of the pitch.
Benatia had previously been “monitored” by Sir Alex Ferguson when the defender was at Udinese. The former United boss believed that the Moroccan could have been the perfect replacement for Nemanja Vidic at some point.