Good news United? - Mourinho claims no Chelsea interest in Benatia

Chelsea do not want Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, leaving the coast clear for Manchester United to have a pop.

If there is still one area of the Manchester United team that needs improving before the start of the season it would have to be at heart of defence. The club lost experienced pair Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand this summer as their contracts at the club expired. They have so far failed to bring in a replacement, with interest in Thomas Vermaelen proving futile - as Barcelona got the Belgian.

While the performances of Tyler Blackett and Michael Keane in pre-season have given reason for optimism from Louis van Gaal, they will still want an experienced world-class operator to form a back three with two out of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

One name that has come up is Roma's sensational option Mehdi Benatia. Rumoured to be worth around £30 million, Manchester United have been linked with his signature in recent weeks.

But the other team reportedly interested are a Premier League rival with cash to splash - Chelsea.

The Blues have also been linked with his signature this week, meaning United might have a fight on their hands if they decided to make a move for the Moroccan international.

But the good news is Chelsea are not as keen as we have been led to believe. In fact, Jose Mourinho categorically ruled out buying Benatia, or any centre-back, this summer when speaking to the press after yesterday's final pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad.

He told reporters, as quoted by the Bleacher Report:

"No. We are not interested (in Benatia). We have John (Terry), (Gary) Cahill, (Branislav) Ivanovic, (Kurt) Zouma, and we want to make (Andreas) Christensen, step by step, training with us, every day, playing a few minutes when it is possible, playing with the Under-21s and training with us as a first-team squad member. We are fine."

Which would apparently give United a free run at the exciting Roma star.

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