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Sky Sports transfer guru: United to win race for £25m defender

The Red Devils have reportedly made an offer for Mehdi Benatia.

Manchester United have reportedly made a bid in the region of £25 million for 27-year-old Roma defender Mehdi Benatia as manager Louis van Gaal looks to reinforce his leaky defence.

The Red Devils conceded two poor goals in their Premier League-opening 2-1 defeat to Swansea, and van Gaal has identified the Moroccan international as the man to shore up the back line.

United have been linked to Benatia for the past week, but it was believed that Chelsea had edged ahead in the race for his signature.

Sky Sports' Jim White, however, has tweeted that the defender could be heading to Old Trafford.

Manchester United are short of defenders after losing the experienced trio of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra this summer.

The club are in dire need of a top-class centre-half after missing out on Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona for £15 million.

Van Gaal's 3-5-2 system requires three central defenders, and the shortage at the back meant the Dutchman was forced to hand 20-year-old Tyler Blackett his debut alongside Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

Blackett performed well against Swansea, but United remain worryingly short of options and they will hope that Benatia can be both a short- and long-term to their defensive troubles.

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