Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are losing the race to sign Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia, according to reports.

TalkSPORT claims that Inter Milan are ‘poised’ to beat their Premier League rivals to the signature of the 25-year-old, despite the player previously admitting he was ‘flattered’ to be linked with a move to Old Trafford.

The Italian giants have highlighted the player as a potential replacement for Walter Samuel, with the 34-year-old moving towards the later stages of his career at the San Siro.

Napoli are also reportedly interested, meaning the Moroccan international will be a wanted man in the January transfer window.

Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas has mainly been linked with strikers in recent months, with the White Hart Lane outfit short of options in attack.

However, defence now appears to be an area that the Spurs boss could look to make additions in the New Year, with Benatia potentially competing for places alongside William Gallas, Steven Caulker, Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson.

Manchester United aren't short of options at the back either, with Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and the injured Nemanja Vidic all on the books for the Red Devils.

However, a series of injuries took their toll on the Manchester United side last season, which could explain why Sir Alex Ferguson is being linked with a player in the position.

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