Chelsea and Manchester United in long queue for Benatia

As Roma Graffiti

According to Italian newspaper reports, Chelsea and Manchester United are on a long list of clubs hoping to sign Roma defender Mehdi Benatia.

Mehdi Benatia could've been a Chelsea player for next to nothing a few years ago, but now Jose Mourinho faces a serious bidding war if he wants to sign him.

The Moroccan international was one of Roma's outstanding players in the second half of their Serie A campaign and played an important role in the capital club's second-placed finish.

But things could've been very different had Benatia decided to join Chelsea during Mourinho's first stint at the club.

Benatia came on trial and trained with Chelsea for four days reportedly on the recommendation of Didier Drogba, but despite being offered a contract he didn't join as he felt he would be homesick.

Having eventually left France in 2010, Benatia arrived at Roma via Udinese, a club famed for developing young talent and has become a star stopper.

Chelsea are said to be trying to tempt Benatia away from the Eternal City this summer, but Roma could be inundated with offers from top clubs.

According to Il Messaggero in an article this morning with the headline: 'Everyone in a line for Benatia', Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and several other clubs are hoping to sign the defender.

Roma are still trying to persuade Benatia to stay, but sporting director Walter Sabatini has failed to offer the doubling of his salary that the player wants.

Benatia's value is a subject of some debate but he is widely believed to be worth around £15m, although if there are multiple interested parties that could increase in an auction.

However, Chelsea may throw striker Romelu Lukaku into the mix, which could be a big asset as Roma are reportedly very keen on him.

Apparently, Roma could look to Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen should they have to let Benatia go but Gabriel Paletta of Parma is also a possibility. 

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