Manchester City will steal a march on their Premier League rivals as they prepare to submit a £25m offer for Mehdi Benatia in the next 24 hours, reveals Goal.
Etihad officials is set to make formal contact with AS Roma with regards to a move for the 27-year-old centre-back as they look to wind down their long-term interest in Porto star Eliaquim Mangala.
Benatia has only been with the Serie A outfit for one season but has recently declared his dismay at not being offered a suitable contract extension. Believing he should be rewarded for his fine performances, Benatia publically stated that he rejected a contract offer from AS Roma and City are now prepared to pounce.
City's impending transfer bid will no doubt alert Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, who have also been linked with an interest in recent days.
Manchester United are looking at a number of defensive options as they look to fill the massive void left by Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Similarly, Arsenal need a new central-defender to replace Bacary Sagna, who had been used as cover in times of need last season. The future of captain Thomas Vermaelen is also up in the air.
However, both the Gunners and United have been left trailing the Citizens, who are now leading the race. Manchester City are ready to offer Banatia £90,000-a-week, which will double his current wages.
Benatia heightened speculation earlier this week by openly criticising the Rome-based club.
He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I never said I want to leave. But Roma have not kept their promises. They had told me that they would make me a new contract offer if I had a great season.
"But I have received an unacceptable proposal, less than €3 million per season. I replied that I would not sign it.
"I'm in love with Rome, I'm very fine here but my mistake was to be too correct with the club and too honest."
Regarding speculation about him leaving, he added: "I only said that anyone dreams of teams like Real, Bayern and [Manchester] City.
"My agent is doing his job, I could leave but I could also stay and finish my career in Roma. But I was disappointed [with the new wage offer], I deserved more respect."