Roma expect Benatia to stay, but Chelsea linger

Mehdi Benatia playing for Morocco

Defensive star Mehdi Benatia is expected to stay with Roma but press reports suggest that Chelsea could still step in.

Mehdi Benatia seemed to believe he was joining Manchester City, but now he is set to remain at Roma unless Chelsea make a move.

The Moroccan international was one of the standout players in Serie A last season and played a crucial role in Roma's excellent campaign.

As the summer approached, many of Europe's top clubs were linked with Benatia and the player became unsettled in the Eternal City.

Reports in Italy suggested that Benatia demanded a massive pay rise and then set his heart on a move to Manchester City.

But when the Premier League champions didn't come in with the expected bid, Benatia was forced to return to the fold and was present at Roma's friendly against Indonesia's Under-23 side.

Fans seem ready to forgive Benatia's wanderlust and the club want him to stay, but there could still be a suitor.

Il Tempo reports that coach Rudi Garcia is counting on Benatia for this season and Roma owner James Pallotta has told the defender that his salary will be reviewed.

"Things are clear for me. Mehdi is under contract and will be a Roma player this season," Garcia said.

"He is as motivated as ever and there is no problem. Luckily our president talks frequently with the players, he does with everyone."

However, the paper claims that while Manchester City are no longer interested, Chelsea may still be lurking and could pounce.

Benatia is generally valued at around £25 million, which could be prohibitive, but it is clear that he is far from 100 percent committed to his current employer.

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