Roma defender Mehdi Benatia is flying to England for talks over a move to Manchester United, according to Sky
United are keen to add to their defense, which seems pretty thin at the moments. Benatia has been linked to various Premier League clubs and it has been brought to the fore that talks are going to continue between the Morocco international and Manchester United over a move.
Benatia was linked with a move to Manchester City and Chelsea earlier in the summer. City went ahead and signed Eliaquim Mangala from Porto for around £30m instead.
Chelsea are the other club who have been interested in the player and reports just yesterday stated that that Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini had flown to London to hold talks with Chelsea over a move. Even though the Blues have a good squad, Jose Mourinho wants to add a solid defender so that there are enough solid players in his team to compete in all competitions and so an injury or suspension doesn’t dampen the team’s chances as someone potent in their in the squad to replace the ruled out player.
United have to still replace Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic from last season’s squad. The Red Devils are pretty thin due to injury and had significant first-team absentees in their opening day 2-1 loss against Swansea. Van Gaal gave youngster Tyler Blackett his debut which speaks a lot over the thinness in the squad at the moment.
Asked after the match whether his side needs reinforcements, van Gaal replied, “That is not a question because I knew that before this game. Of course we need defenders”
Reports coming out of Italy now also suggest that Sabatini held talks with United. United have made a £24m to land the player, but it is believed that Roma want £30m for the player, the sum City were willing to pay and one which Chelsea are ready to match. United would have to act fast if they want to land the defender.
Mats Hummels still remains LvG’s first choice defensive target this summer but it seems that United won’t get lucky on that front as Dortmund are unwilling to sell the centre-back. Klopp has even named the Germany international his team captain. Benatia will be a more available option for the Manchester giants.
United are also in talks with Sporting Lisbon over Marcos Rojo (someone who can operate both as a left back and centrally). The Red Devils were close to acquiring him but the deal is complicated because of how much money Sporting will get out of his sale since 75% of Rojo’s ‘economic rights’ are owned by sports investment management company Doyen Sports. Therefore, Lisbon want an inflated £24m for Rojo to make sure they benefit financially by selling, a sum United are apprehensive to pay.