One of Manchester City’s top transfer targets for this summer has dealt Manuel Pellegrini and incredible blow, as it’s believe he wants to reject them in favour of a Chelsea switch.
The Daily Star relays reports from Italy which suggest that Roma lynchpin Mehdi Benatia is set to turn down the chance to move to the current Premier League champions, as he harbours hopes of being signed instead by Jose Mourinho. The Moroccan has been on the radar at the Etihad for some weeks now, and it’s thought City want to bring him in as a full-time defensive partner to club captain Vincent Kompany.
However Pellegrini is now staring down the barrel of an embarrassing rejection, as the 27-year-old, who enjoyed a very solid season at the Stadio Olimpico, has his eyes set on a Stamford Bridge switch. Rated at £30million the Roma man has risen to become one of Europe’s most sought-after assets and, despite the fact that Rudi Garcia is reportedly hell-bent on keeping his best players together to challenge Juventus’ dominance at the Serie A next season, a move to the Premier League is looking an increasingly likely prospect.
It’s said that Chelsea have lodged an enquiry to his current club to see how much scope there is for taking Benatia to Stamford Bridge, which will no doubt make the player himself happy. Mourinho has been extremely on point with his dealings in the transfer market so far, and it’s already looking like Francesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have all but cemented their places in his line-up next term.
However the Special One has earmarked the acquisition of a top central defender, and with his decision to allow backup choice Tomas Calas to join Cologne on a season-long loan only furthers his need to find another option. The ageing John Terry formed a solid partnership with Gary Cahill last campaign, but it remains to be seen whether or not the pair will be able to perform the same heroic feats this time around, and speculation would have you believe that Raphael Varane has also been targeted as a potential addition.
Youngster Kurt Zouma is also there to be considered of course, but rumours continue to infer that he will be farmed out on loan once more next season, and he very much looks like a player for the future rather than a feasible asset for the here and now.
As for City, Pellegrini will have to hope there’s more fish in the sea with regards to sourcing an alternative. With it having been confirmed that Joleon Lescott is leaving the club this summer, alongside the fact that neither Martin Demichelis or Matija Nastasic have been overly impressive when called upon, the Chilean needs to move fast if he is to guarantee defensive solidity in his bid to retain the English title.
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