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If Benatia leaves, Roma may go all out for Vermaelen

Roma are facing up to the possibility of losing defender Mehdi Benatia and may push for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen to replace him.

It's possible that Thomas Vermaelen's last action as an Arsenal player was to hold the FA Cup trophy aloft as Roma are strongly tipped to table a bid for him.

Defence wasn't expected to be a major area to focus on in the summer transfer market for Roma, but they have been rattled by the potential loss of star man Mehdi Benatia.

Roma have insisted they have no intention of selling Benatia, who was one of the outstanding defenders in Serie A this season, but the decision may be taken out of their hands.

The Moroccan star has reportedly demanded his wages are doubled if he is to stay in the Italian capital and Roma may not be able to do that.

With Barcelona and Manchester City said to be lurking, Roma may need to find a replacement and Arsenal captain Vermaelen is in the frame.

The Belgian stopper has had something of a frustrating campaign at Arsenal and been second fiddle to the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, which has gone from strength to strength.

While the Gunners appear to be keen to keep hold of Vermaelen, he is unlikely to stick around unless he is more of a regular in the starting 11.

A few clubs are said to be interested in swooping for Vermaelen should he not get those assurances, including Serie A sides Napoli and Fiorentina.

But the Corriere dello Sport believes that Roma will go all out to sign the unsettled star should Benatia leave in the summer.

The paper suggests that a fee of around £12.5m would probably be enough to persuade Arsenal to let Vermaelen go, given that his contract expires in 2015.

Roma would expect to bring in at least £20m if they do agree to sell Benatia which would allow them to meet Arsenal's valuation should Vermaelen agree the switch.

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