Report: Manchester United v Bayern for Benatia, but he wants Chelsea

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Chelsea have pulled out of the hunt for Roma's Mehdi Benatia, leaving a two-way battle to begin.

Manchester United and Bayern Munich are said to be preparing for a bidding war for Roma star Mehdi Benatia but he would reportedly be happier at Stamford Bridge. 

The Moroccan international's future has become a frequent talking point over the last two months after an excellent 2013-14 campaign in Serie A.

Manchester City seemed the most likely club to swoop at the start of the summer, but no concrete approach was ever made.

Just as it seemed that Benatia would remain at Roma, reports started to surface of solid interest from Chelsea and an alleged £30 million bid.

But, according to Il Messaggero, Chelsea have decided to pass on Benatia because they don't want to be drawn into an auction with Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The Italian newspaper ran the headline: "United and Bayern Munich are neck and neck for Benatia" and reports that the two clubs are ready to fight it out for the authoritative centre-back.

However, ll Messaggero believes that while Manchester United have begun talks with Benatia's agent, the player is still holding out hope for a move to Chelsea.

Benatia is valued at around £25 million, but the fierce competition for his signature may see bids reach the £30 million and beyond.

While Roma have been determined to keep hold of such an integral cog, the Eternal City outfit would be unable to resist such sums.

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