Arsenal's Arsene Wenger has meeting with Serie A side over €32m star - report

Arsene Wenger at Training - 18/02/2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is scheduled to meet with Roma's Walter Sabatini.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has a potential face-to-face meeting regarding the signing of Mehdi Benatia, claims a report.

Roma directors Walter Sabatini and Mauro Baldissoni have flown to the UK to discuss a number of potential incoming and outgoing deals with a number of teams, and the Gunners boss has a chance to make his pitch, if he wants to..

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier on Thursday: "Baldissoni and Sabatini are considering other routes for Benatia, and his replacements alternatives (Nastasic and Chiriches): had dinner with Franco Baldini (Tottenham), in the coming hours will also meet Wenger (Arsenal) and Van Gaal (Manchester United)."

It's unclear if Arsenal have any serious interest in Benatia, but Gazzetta was the first news organisation in Italy to break the fact a deal to take Mario Balotelli's transfer to Liverpool being agreed, and are regarded as credible.

Roma have an offer on the table from Bayern Munich of €28 million for Benatia, and they are keen to see if they can better it. They want to clinch an up front offer of €32 million, plus another potential €8 million in add-ons.

Arsene Wenger has made clear he sees his priority in the transfer market heading into the last days of the window as being in defence, having sold Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona.

Kostas Manolas of Olympiakos is a much-touted option, and would cost a fifth of the price that Benatia would, a deal which may appeal more to Wenger.

Roma are also said to have their eye on Manolas as a potential Benatia replacement, and could be on a fact-finding mission to establish how far the Gunners have progressed.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has a similar meeting, and his side are in more desperate need of defensive reinforcements. Benatia has been linked to both Chelsea and Manchester City earlier in the transfer window.

Whether Arsenal show any inclination to get involved in a bidding war is unclear, but they are being presented with a chance to strengthen by signing one of Serie A's top defenders from last season, and that has to be worth considering,

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch