AC Milan have moved ahead of Tottenham and Chelsea in the race to sign Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia after re-starting negotiations over a summer move, according to talkSPORT.

The Italian giants had been among the favourites to land the Moroccan international in January, but dropped out once big-spending Azhi Makhachkala registered their interest.

That eventually came to nothing though, and AC Milan have re-entered the picture, opening talks with Udinese regarding a summer switch for the centre-back.

Chelsea, Tottenham and even Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Benatia, who's impressed at the heart of the Udinese defence in Serie 'A' this season.

Since making the move to Italy from France three years ago, Benatia has established himself as one of the league's most consistent defenders.

The 25-year-old centre-back had been linked with Manchester United as a potential long-term alternative to Rio Ferdinand, while Spurs and Chelsea were thought to be keeping tabs on the Moroccan with a view to a move further down the line.

The report claims his performances in Serie 'A' had left Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham scouts impressed, but AC Milan are reportedly leading the chase to land the defender.

However, no Premier League club has so far followed up their interest with a bid.

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