Potential Vidic replacement hints at move - could he be Manchester United's next star?

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Roma defender Mehdi Benatia could leave the club after his agent suggested his client will have talks with the club amidst transfer speculation.

Benatia, 26, spent most of his early career in France with Guingamp, Marseille, Tours, Lorient and Clermont Foot before sealing a move to Udinese in 2010, and his career has taken off ever since, becoming one of the finest defenders in Serie A over the past few years.

Despite being a French youth international, Benatia pledged his international allegiance to Morocco, and his displays on the international scene as well as with Udinese prompted interest from a number of clubs last summer, but it was Italian rivals Roma who sealed his signature, paying €13.5m to bring him to the capital - and right now, it looks like a bargain.

Benatia has been sensational for Rudi Garcia's side this season, and has been an integral part of a defence that has conceded just 18 goals in Serie A this season - by far the lowest total in the division. As well as his defensive capabilities, Benatia has contributed heavily in an attacking sense, scoring five goals in 30 games - a superb record for a central defender - and it's this that has made him such a hot commodity on the transfer market, with Bayern Munich reportedly interested in him.

But it's Manchester United who have been most strongly linked with a move for Benatia, as manager David Moyes allegedly sees the imposing defender as the ideal replacement for Nemanja Vidic, with the long-serving Serbian set to head to Italy to join Inter Milan at the end of the season, and Moyes' hopes of landing Benatia will be boosted by his agent saying he needs to speak with the club amidst interest from elsewhere.

"We will have a meeting with Roma," said agent Moussa Sissoko. "The directors are aware of the fact that big clubs are interested. After the meeting with Roma we will see what Mehdi's decision will be. Although today, he feels very, very happy at Roma."

The comments suggest that whilst Benatia is happy at the Stadio Olimpico for now, he could have his head turned by interest from other clubs - which will be music to the ears of Moyes, who could land Vidic's heir this summer.

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