Mehdi Benatia demands €40m Premier League switch

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Benatia was tremendous for Roma last season, part of a side who finished second in Serie A
Benatia was tremendous for Roma last season, part of a side who finished second in Serie A .

Roma's defensive linchpin is desperate to complete a Premier League switch this summer and has been told that the Giallorossi will sanction his exit, but only if either Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City come up with a whopping €40m offer to compensate for the loss of a tremendous centre-back.

Benatia is currently on holiday in his native Morocco and his break is well deserved after a magnificent debut season with Roma, one in which he helped Rudi Garcia's new-look side climb to second in Serie A and amass 19 clean sheets in the process.

The 27-year-old wants to take advantage of that strong form to complete a lucrative switch and according to Rome-based newspaper Il Messegaro likes the look of a move to Chelsea, but the same publication also believes that the club's sporting director Walter Sabatini is very confident of keeping a prized asset for next season.

Premier League interest

It's clear to see why a trio of top Premier League contenders are all monitoring Benatia's situation closely, a strong, imposing central defender who can also list composure, intelligent reading of the game and an eye for a goal from set pieces among his many attributes.

Manchester United in particular are in the market for a new central defender after watching Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand walk away at the end of last season, but have refused to entertain Roma's eye-watering price tag for a star they signed for just £10m from Udinese last summer.

City seem the most keen

Manchester City are also still searching for a long-term partner to marshall central defence alongside club captain Vincent Kompany and are the only club to formally approach Roma over a deal for Benatia, although their early interest was immediately knocked back.

Il Messegaro believe that City midfielder Samir Nasri is a close friend of Benatia's and would love his pal to make a mega-money switch to the Etihad, with City so far frustrated in efforts to sign both the African star and French international Eliaqium Mangala.

Chelsea have also expressed an interest and will eventually be forced to find a quality replacement for club legend John Terry, but Roma are acutely aware of Benatia's market value and are driving a very hard bargain to say the least.

American ambition

Roma are bankrolled by American tycoons and have the financial clout to prevent Benatia or other stars Miralem Pjanic, Gervinho and Daniele De Rossi from leaving if they so choose, although contract wrangling could be a sore subject at the Stadio Olimpico over the next 12 months.

Benatia in particular is thought to be particularly unhappy that his efforts have not been rewarded by improved terms so far this summer and he is not alone, a consequence of Roma playing far above expectations to ensure qualification to the Champions League group stages next season.

Pjanic, De Rossi and co. will want salaries to reflect that growth if they manage to make a mark in Europe next season, but only then will Roma be forced to reconsider their position on Benatia, a man clearly in demand.

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