PHOTO: Roma fans offer forgiveness to wantaway Premier League target

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Roma supporters have unexpectedly shown Mehdi Benatia the road to redemption in the Eternal City amid links to Chelsea and Manchester City.

Mehdi Benatia has been a hot topic of conversation in Roma circles for some time now, and not for the brilliant body of work he turned in last season at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Moroccan’s heated contract dispute with the Giallorossi has seemingly made it only a matter of time before the club cash in on him this summer.

Manchester City were close to tying up a £30 million deal to bring the centre-back to the Etihad, but now have reportedly opted to sign Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala instead.

The situation has left both Roma and Benatia in an awkward position, with the 27-year-old joining his team-mates for pre-season training this week after looking to be on his way.

Benatia could still leave the Italian capital yet as he remains linked with a move to either Chelsea or Bayern Munich, having drawn the ire of the Giallorossi fan base.

On Tuesday, however, the former Udinese man received a surprising show of support from the Roma faithful suggesting could still be welcome in Rome.

A banner was hung at the Lupi’s Trigoria training ground that read: ‘Benatia, continue to honour the Roma shirt, Roma loves and forgives you.’

It’s certainly a sentiment that not all Roma fans share, but if anything is a small sign that some fans are receptive to the idea of reconciliation.

For now Benatia’s future in Giallorosso remains in the balance, and only time will tell whether he’ll earn his redemption at Roma or move on to another employer.

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