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AS Roma hit out at former star Mehdi Benatia - Prem clubs better off?

A former target of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, Benatia transferred to Bayern Munich but his former club have some choice words for him…

One of the most in-form centre backs of the last 12 months, Mehdi Benatia's elite performance level over the course of last season earned him a high-profile transfer from AS Roma to Bayern Munich earlier this summer.

Following the completion of his switch, Benatia explained to Kicker that he was told Roma wanted to retain his services for another season but, because of their financial situation, would be forced to sell.

Benatia, who attempted 62 tackles, 93 interceptions and 201 clearances in the Serie A with Roma last term, was never short on admirers and a hat-trick of Premier League sides including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were all apparently courting the defender.

While Benatia's version of events led to Bayern Munich interest - something he says he could not turn down - the revelations at Roma, in his words: "got me mad because I wanted to stay."

Roma have countered Benatia's claim. President James Pollatta said via a press release on the club's official website.: "Mehdi Benatia has obviously continued with his pattern of outright lies over the last couple of months.

"We had a verbal agreement on compensation and a raise back in July in Boston. He personally said to me that he was happy after I told him flat out with no exceptions that we wanted him to stay.

"Over the following month he lied about wanting to stay and about the details of his compensation to both Rudi Garcia and his team-mates. Lying to me was one thing which I can somewhat handle. Lying to Rudi Garcia and his team-mates was completely unacceptable to me.

"I told [sporting director] Walter Sabatini he was becoming poisonous and I wanted him gone, and Rudi and Walter agreed. It wasn't about the money; it was about having character in our locker room. We are in a very sound financial position.

"As owners of Roma, we make difficult decisions all the time. As a fan of Roma, I am deeply disappointed that one of our players could act this way."

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