Manchester United are reportedly considering making a move for Moroccan international Medhi Benatia in the January transfer window.
According to a report from Italian outlet Tuttosport (h/t Mirror), Premier League bigwigs Manchester United are looking at Juventus defender as a potential solution to their defensive problems and are ready to make a move in the winter transfer window.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was keen on signing a new centre-back in the summer transfer window, with Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld and Jerome Boateng at the top of his wishlist. However, no recruitment was made in defence by the club, which has come to haunt them this season.
Manchester United haven’t made the best of starts to the 2018-19 campaign. Despite their recent recovery, things haven’t been going all too well for Mourinho’s men, with a porous defence being one of the Portuguese tactician’s biggest concern.
Manchester United have conceded 18 goals in their 11 Premier League appearances already, which is the worst defensive record for a team in the top half of the league table, while only five teams have conceded more than the Red Devils.
This has led to the club making a new defensive signing a top priority heading into the January transfer window. The 20-time English champions were believed to be looking at Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar and AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. However, they now seem to have switched their attention towards a more experienced option in Juventus star Benatia.
The 31-year-old centre-half has been with the Bianconeri for a little over two years now, having joined from Bayern Munich in 2016, initially on loan before making the switch permanent a year later. During this period, Benatia has gone on to make 58 appearances for the club, picking up two Serie A winners’ medals in the process.
However, the Moroccan has seen playing time come at a premium in the ongoing campaign, following Leonardo Bonucci’s return from AC Milan this past summer. So far in the 2018-19 term, Benatia has made just five appearances across all competitions and is believed to have grown frustration with the lack of minutes.
Speaking of his current predicament, the 31-year-old had said (h/t Calciomercato), “I was doing well last season because I was playing on a regular basis. Now it’s not the same. This is my job and I always need to work hard to be ready to play but it’s a situation I don’t like.
“I am 31 and I want to play as much as I can. Let’s see what happens in January, how many games I will play. Let’s see if Juve and Allegri need me. I am here to give my best and that’s what I will do until I’m here.”
Having played for top clubs like AS Roma, Bayern Munich and Juventus and won a number of titles and trophies along the way, Benatia has gathered vast experience at the highest level. And his signing would come in very handy for Manchester United at a moment when they are lacking a senior figure and a natural leader at the back.
Benatia’s contract with Juventus runs till the summer of 2020 and the defender has been attracting interest from Manchester United’s arch rivals Arsenal as well. Given the United hierarchy’s reluctance to sign players in their thirties this summer, it remains to be seen if they move on the 58-time capped Moroccan international or pursue alternate targets instead.