£24m Chelsea and United target reveals reasons behind German switch

Mehdi Benatia has spoken about his decision to swap Rome for Munich this summer, despite Chelsea and Manchester United being keen.

Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia emerged as one of the most wanted players in Europe this summer, especially those with central defensive needs.

In the Premier League that was no different. Chelsea were said to view him as the ultimate John Terry replacement. Manchester United however wanted him for obvious reasons. Their leaky defence needs plugging.

But the mood all changed when Spanish international Javi Martinez suffered knee ligament damage earlier this month - leaving Bayern Munich short of centre-back options for the majority of the campaign.

So the Bundesliga champions joined the race, and won it yesterday after an agreement was reached between both sides.

The 27-year-old would have been absolutely perfect for the Premier League, United in particular need him, and at a fee said to be in the region of £24 million, it would have been a no brainer.

So why did Bayern get the nod? Both Chelsea and United could have rivalled the German side on salary and prestige, but they could not offer one thing Bayern had - Pep Guardiola.

Benatia has spoken to Sport1 in Germany about the move, and admitted that his new boss was the main reason behind his German decision:

"I am very happy that my transfer to Bayern is happening at last. The move dragged on for a bit and at some point I feared that it could fall through. But Guardiola desperately wanted me at Bayern and an agreement was eventually reached. Guardiola is a fantastic trainer and I am looking forward to working with him. Bayern have a lot of amazing players and it is a dream come true to be part of this great squad."

Benatia will now battle with the likes of Dante and Jerome Boateng for a starting slot at Bayern, while the returning Holger Badstuber will also present a challenge, but do not doubt it, Benatia is world-class, and will soon prove it in Bavaria.

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