Chelsea and Arsenal are prepared to battle it out to secure the signature of Udinese star Mehdi Benatia, according to talkSPORT.

The 25-year-old defender has also been linked with Liverpool in the past, but it appears the London clubs are in pole position to bring the Moroccan international to the Premier League.

But both teams face stiff competition from Serie 'A' side Napoli, who are keen to keep the highly-rated Benatia in Italy. The rangy 6ft 2in defender is comfortable on the ball, and has attracted interest from a number of top clubs following an excellent season in Serie 'A'.

Udinese finished third in Italy, clinching qualification to the Champions League, but Chelsea and Arsenal can also offer the former-Clermont defender Champions League football.

But Napoli, who finished a disappointing fifth, missed out on the competition and Benatia is unlikely to want to move to a club unable to offer him the opportunity to test himself at Europe's top table.

The talented defender moved to Udinese in 2010 from French Ligue 2 side Clermont. Benatia had originally been on the books at Marseille but failed to make the grade at the French giant.

But since moving to Italy, the 25-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength, and could now be ready to take the next step in his career. A move to the Gunners or Chelsea could be a possibility for around £8m, making Benatia a relatively low-risk option for both title challengers.

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