If Benatia leaves, Roma may raid Aston Villa

Roma may look to Aston Villa's World Cup star Ron Vlaar as a defensive replacement for Mehdi Benatia, according to the Italian press.

Roma seem to be fighting a losing battle to keep Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia at the Stadio Olimpico and could move for Ron Vlaar to fill the gap.

Benatia was one of the outstanding players of the 2013-14 Serie A season and helped Roma establish themselves as runners-up.

But Benatia's success has attracted interest from several high-profile clubs and seems to have unsettled the 27-year-old.

After demanding a large pay rise, Benatia has been courting the reported interest of Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona.

But the latest team to enter the frame are German giants Bayern Munich, who are allegedly ready to put down a bumper bid.

And, according to the Corriere della Sera, Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini is having to prepare his Plan B in the event that he can't convince Benatia to stay.

It is suggested that Roma could chase Aston Villa's Vlaar, who raised his profile considerably with his performances in the Netherlands' World Cup run.

Vlaar's contract at Villa Park expires in June 2015 and so it is reported that he could be available for just £4 million, which is a tiny fraction of what Roma expect to raise from the sale of Benatia.

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