Italy expert on Benatia bidding status amid United, Chelsea interest

In the latest transfer news, AS Roma defender Mehdia Benatia is wanted by a hat-trick of clubs: Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

The protracted transfer of Mehdi Benatia from AS Roma to Manchester United or Chelsea has failed to develop because neither Premier League side has made an official approach, according to Italy expert Gianluca di Marzio, a journalist for Sky Italia.

Manchester United's backline has been considerably weakened over the past year due to the enhanced ages (and then exits) of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, a defensive partnership who enjoyed unquestionable mainstay status at Old Trafford for many a season.

However, performances last season (12 Premier League losses and 43 concessions) and a 2-1 loss against Swansea City at Old Trafford already this year have ensure calls for a centre back recruit have been prolonged.

A stalwart at Roma, Benatia would no doubt improve Louis van Gaal's roster, yet the Dutchman faces competition from his former protege Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and one of his former clubs; Bayern Munich.

Not one out of the three clubs who covet the Moroccan international's signature has made a move, though.

"Benatia has many suitors," said a report on the Serie A expert's official website.

"In the last days, he was rumoured to be headed to Manchester, then to Bayern Munich, with an executive in Italy to close the deal. And where was Benatia? In Ostia, relaxing, waiting for news. Meanwhile, Roma remain serene: they haven’t received any official offer from the three clubs that are interested, so they don’t have to evaluate anything.

Should United or Chelsea desire Benatia enough to make an offer to Roma, it would have to exceed £30 million. Director of football Walter Sabatini allegedly spoke to "several operators" whilst in London at the weekend, but was also working "on deals involving Ligue 1 [Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot]."

The report concluded: "Benatia is preparing to be courted for the next two weeks."

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