The transfer saga of AS Roma defender Mehdi Benatia has finally come to a conclusion as reports in Italy and Germany have stated the Serie A side and Bayern Munich have agreed a £21million fee plus £3.2m in add-ons for the player. The Morocco international will fly to Germany to have a medical on Wednesday.
Today, it was also learned that Roma has agreed to pay Olympiacos £10.4million for defender Kosta Manolas, who will be slotted in as Benatia’s replacement at the Italian club.
Bayern Munich appeared to have the signing of Benatia locked up over a week ago until Roma surprised many by rejecting the proposed offer from the Bundesliga champions.
It was widely understood that the Moroccan defender preferred a move to the German giants. But since Roma had the player under contract for another three seasons, the club saw no reason to sell and elected to start a bidding war between the player’s suitors.
Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Chelsea had all been linked with the 27-year-old for most of the summer.
Chelsea dropped out of the race for his signature because any move for the Morocco international would have meant that the Premier League club would first have to sell one of their foreign players in order to adhere to league rules.
Manchester United were heavily linked with Benatia ever since news of his “imminent” arrival was announced by Sky Sports News presenter Jim White on his Twitter account. It quickly came to light that information was incorrect (or premature) as Roma denied any deal was in place with the twenty-time champions of England.
It was learned this week that Roma had requested £39m plus two players from United for Benatia; the two players were not Danny Welbeck and/or Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. But the English club refused that request and tabled a bid of £24m for the Moroccan defender. The Serie A club responded by requesting £24m plus one player (once again, not Welbeck or Chicharito). United then decided to leave the negotiations.
With no other suitors, and the player himself desiring a move to Germany, Roma elected to sell the defender to Bayern Munich.
The only issue that held up the negotiations was Benatia’s contract demands. The player was requesting £6.5 million-per-year to join the Bundesliga giants, but those number would not fit into the wage structure at Bayern Munich.
Since he wanted the move to take place and did not see a future in Italy anymore, Benatia came down from those demands and has reportedly accepted a contract worth £3.2 million-a-year.