AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has warned Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United that he is under no pressure to sell Mehdi Benatia this summer.
The elite Premier League trio are all hunting for defensive reinforcements this summer and Benatia has reportedly landed of Louis van Gaal's, Jose Mourinho's and Arsene Wenger's transfer shortlist. Manchester City were also interested but instead chose to pursue Eliaquim Mangala.
With interest in the starting to gather pace in the 27-year-old, Garcia has been forced to remind the media that Benatia is still under a long-term contract in the Italian capital. Garcia hinted that he is under no pressure to sell Benatia and that interested parties would do themselves a favour by moving to alternative targets.
He told Sport Mediaset: "I believe Mehdi has four more years of his contract with us. He is an AS Roma player and I want people to stop talking about his future."
Garcia's comments come shortly after Chelsea made a bid reported to be in the region of €38 million for the Moroccan international. Mourinho is keen to get a long-term partner for Gary Cahill in his Stamford Bridge line up.
John Terry still has a year left on his contract and Kurt Zouma has arrived from St Etienne but with Terry struggling with age and Zouma lacking experience, Benatia could have provided the perfect stopgap for the Blues.
Thomas Vermaelen replacement
Another potential destination for Benatia is Arsenal where Wenger is looking for a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen. However, Wenger is looking for a defender to come in as a third choice behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Even if €38 million was enough to convince Roma to sell, it is hard to see the Arsenal boss forking out that much for a back-up.
Manchester United are also looking for a replacement for Vermaelen in a way. Van Gaal was seemingly confident of luring Vermaelen to Old Trafford before the Belgian eventually agreed to join Barcelona. Vermaelen may well have been keen on a move but Arsenal were understandably keen to stop another captain leaving for their Premier League rivals.
With Mats Hummels set to stay at Borussia Dortmund after being handed to captain's armband by Jurgen Klopp, Van Gaal could do worse than battling Chelsea for Benatia. However, on the back of Garcia's comments, that is looking like a lost cause as well.
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