Manchester United and Arsenal have fallen behind in the race to sign defender Mehdi Benatia as AC Milan emerge as favourites.

According to talkSPORT, both Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have been very impressed with the Serie A defender.

It also claims both Manchester United and Arsenal are looking to reinforce their respective defences in the summer and were gearing up for a tussle over Benatia.

However, it now appears as though the 26-year-old’s next destination is unlikely to be either Old Trafford or Emirates Stadium.

Udinese’s Serie A rivals AC Milan are in pole position to land the £15million-rated man after outmanoeuvring both Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Gunners look likely to be left with only three senior centre-backs this summer as Sebastien Squaillaci’s contract expires and he will leave, while Johan Djourou has openly expressed a desire to stay at Hannover where he is currently on loan.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have doubts over the long-term fitness and future of both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, so a move for Benatia could be Ferguson planning a season or two ahead.

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