We take a look at why Manchester United should do whatever it takes to beat Manchester City in order to sign Benatia.
When it comes to in form central defenders in the world there are a number of names that regularly get thrown forward, for instance, Hummels, Silva, Ramos and so on. However, when someone relatively unknown starts building his reputation it usually takes at least a couple of years to catch the world's attention. Hummels, Silva and Ramos have all been there. It is the line between very good and world class, and it's a tough one to cross.
Mehdi Benatia, in my opinion, is the epitome of that state at the moment, despite outperforming many of the world's most illustrious defenders, he is yet to be named amongst the world's best on a regular basis.
The only ones who do are, in fact, the journalist and supporters who watch him on a regular basis - take Rafael Hernandez for example, a worldwide known football journalist based in Brazil.
The statistics on show clearly represent the defender in the best possible light in comparison with his competitors, which I thought could have been cherry picked statistics to manipulate the readers view on the player. However, nothing could be further from the truth and on further inspection and research - the 27-year-old just seems to get better and better.
An often overlooked, yet hugely important, statistic with regards to central-defenders is their distribution. A centre-backs distribution can shape and mould a whole teams playing style. For example, if you have a centre-back that constantly bypasses the midfield then you would need to compensate for that in certain areas. Just as you would need to if you had a centre-defender that rarely made a pass over 10 yards.
So what does Benatia's distribution statistics say about him?
Pass accuracy: 88.6%
Avg passes per game: 48.8 - 1646
Long balls - successful / attempted - 100 / 150
It is clear that with less than 10% of his passes going long that Benatia is a footballing centre-back with incredible accuracy. This would suit United's, usual, passing style football - a trait that makes him ideal.
In comparison to Mats Hummels, he is more accurate with his passes, he does make less passes per game but he is less likely to bypass the midfield with a long ball. However, in comparison with Thiago Silva, he does come off as second best, in the department of distribution and there is very little in it.
He is dominant, classy but best of all, incredibly reliable. A player that, if signed, would leave people questioning how on earth they hadn't heard of him before. But don't take my word for it, go and give him a watch yourself.