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Report: Roma fear they will lose Benatia

With Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea all closing in, Roma are said to be scared they will have to sell Mehdi Benatia.

Roma will struggle to resist offers from several of Europe's biggest clubs for central defender Mehdi Benatia and it is being suggested that the Giallorossi are preparing to lose him.

Moroccan international stopper Benatia has been a vital cog in the Roma defence and was a big factor in the Lupi finishing as runners-up in Serie A.

The 27-year-old's performances have won him admirers across Europe with Barcelona said to be the most likely to step in with an offer.

And the interest from elsewhere seems to have turned Benatia's head as the former Marseille man is now said to be asking for his salary to be doubled from £1m per year to around £2.2m if he is to sign a contract renewal at Roma.

Reports in Il Messaggero suggest that Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini is worried that he won't be able to persuade Benatia to stay and doesn't want his future to cast a shadow over the summer's planned transfer activity.

Sabatini pulled off a minor coup when he managed to convince midfield star Miralem Pjanic to commit to a renewal despite reported interest from Manchester United.

In order to do so, Roma chief James Pallotta had to agree to increase his usually tight wage cap, but he may not be able to do so again for Benatia.

It is suggested that Benatia could be replaced by Tottenham man Jan Vertonghen or Parma defender Gabriel Paletta.

Roma paid £12m for Benatia when they signed him from Udinese - a club renowned for developing talent - but he now looks likely to bring in around double that sum.

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