Manchester United have succeeded in their attempts to pip Chelsea to highly-rated centre-back Mehdi Benatia, after moving forward with plans following yesterday’s defeat to Swansea in their opening Premier League fixture.
This comes from Sky Sports News’ Jim White, who tweeted that he he had heard a deal was close to completion as Louis van Gaal looks to bolster his back-line. The departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have left the Red Devils dangerously short of strong characters at the back and even the most experienced heads - Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans - are lacking the necessary star quality.
The transfer specialist, who presents the final hours of transfer deadline day, took to social media to say: “Hearing that highly-rated centre-ba ck Mehdi Benatia on his way from AS Roma to Manchester United. #MUFC #ASRoma,” sparking a flurry of excitement from United fans.
As such Van Gaal has been interested in bringing in a top-level defender since he first assumed his position at United, and the likes of Mats Hummels and Thomas Vermaelen were heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in the early days of his reign. However, the former of those has recently been made captain of Borussia Dortmund and the latter signed for Barcelona last week, leaving the aforementioned Benatia as the next best option.
The 27-year-old has plenty of pedigree, and his performances for AS Roma last term caught the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Yet now, with transfer deadline day fast approaching, it seems as though Chelsea and United remain as his only high-profile suitors, with both Premier League clubs having identified him as the ideal candidate to cure their defensive woes.