Chelsea have made a sensational attempt to beat Manchester City and Manchester United to the signing of Roma star Mehdi Benatia, by making an £18million + Romelu Lukaku proposal to his club.
The Express reports how Jose Mourinho and the chiefs at Stamford Bridge are desperate to take the Moroccan international to west London, and so are focusing all their efforts on hijacking the deal being lined up for him to join Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad. Reports claim that City have already agreed personal terms with Benatia, but have yet to complete the deal officially, meaning that Mourinho still has some time left in which to attempt to throw a serious spanner in the works.
According to Italian source Il Messaggero the Blues have put forward their own offer to Rudi Garcia, which includes £18million and Lukaku - whom Chelsea value at £20million - to bring them in line with Roma’s £38million valuation of their central defender. The 28-year-old has captured the attention of a number of top European sides with his performances in the Serie A this season, and would provide stern competition for both John Terry and Gary Cahill at the heart of the back line at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho’s decision to stage the daring swoop is said to have angered Pellegrini, who must have believed that a deal for Benatia was all but done. The Chilean has already sounded at Eliaquim Mangala as a potential second choice if his preferred target does end up at Chelsea, but is likely to fight his counterpart every step of the way for his signature.