Another Woodward blunder as United miss out on cut-price £24m world class centre back

Despite being linked with a move to Manchester United for weeks, Roma defender Mehdi Benatia is set to join Bayern Munich - for just £24m.

Manchester United have endured a second successive frustrating transfer window under Ed Woodward. Last year, manager David Moyes had to watch on as deals to sign then-Barcelona duo Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara fell apart, leaving him to sign Marouane Fellaini for £27.5m on deadline day - a move which unsurprisingly hasn't worked out.

Moyes has gone and Louis van Gaal has stepped into the managerial hot seat at Old Trafford, but it's been a case of new boss, same problems. The Dutchman has seen only three players brought in, as Southampton left back Luke Shaw, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera and Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo have been signed - with United still needing world class talent bringing in.

Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria is on the verge of a £60m move to Old Trafford, but improving the defence has to be a priority for van Gaal even after Rojo's arrival. Following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, United had to land a world class centre back to lead the defence, and Roma's Mehdi Benatia appeared to be the top target in recent weeks amid speculation of a £30m deal.

However, this one will once again go down as a failure on Woodward's part as the Moroccan international, 27, is on the verge of completing a cut-price £24m move to Bayern Munich after Pep Guardiola identified the former Udinese man as the solution to Javi Martinez's recent injury.

A full £6m less than the initial speculated cost, Benatia's move to the Allianz Arena is an absolute bargain. He is one of the few world class centre backs in the world, and was the only one available right now. The fee was in United's budget - especially given their £60m move for Di Maria - but once again, Woodward has let United down by missing out on a deal for Benatia.

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