Coach intervenes to convince wantaway City target to stay - report

Mehdi Benatia playing for Morocco

With Manchester City target Mehdi Benatia on the fringes at Roma, Rudi Garcia has reportedly moved to convince him to stay.

Mehdi Benatia and the Roma hierarchy are at odds, with neither party looking willing to budge over the past weeks.

Ever since the centre-back admitted to having his head turned by the likes of Manchester City in May, tension has mounted and his relationship with the club has grown increasingly strained.

The episode began with Benatia feeling he wasn’t offered an adequate pay rise by the Giallorossi after a brilliant campaign. And Roma have been left with a tough decision to make by the ongoing situation - play hardball and hang onto a malcontent key player, or offload him and simply move on.

Manchester City indeed stepped up to take Benatia to the Etihad, but the Serie A giants have held their ground to get maximum value. Benatia, meanwhile, has reportedly taken to training alone at Roma’s Trigoria base, keeping his distance from club executives he sees as standing in the way of his career.

But according to Corriere dello Sport, coach Rudi Garcia has now intervened. The Italian paper claims that the Frenchman met one-on-one with Benatia in an effort to convince him to settle his differences with Roma and make a conscious choice to stay at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma are believed to be open to handing the Moroccan an improved wage of just over €2 million per year - up from €1.25 million - but this still pales in comparison to the €4 million offer from City.

“It is not enough, and perhaps won’t suffice,” Corriere dello Sport write. “Sew it up or say goodbye. And the clock is ticking.”

How Benatia responded to Garcia’s appeal is yet to come to light, though it’s conceivable his reaction will determine his fate in the Italian capital with City waiting in the wings.

Roma leave for their pre-season tour of the United States on July 21, and whether or not Benatia is on the plane will certainly be telling about where his future lies.

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch