Football

Bayern Munich match Manchester United's offer for Mehdi Benatia

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Bayern Munich appear to be attempting to hijack Manchester United's pursuit of Roma defender and Chelsea target Mehdi Benatia.

Strong speculation has linked the Premier League giants with a £24 million offer for Morocco international Benatia but, according to recent reports from the German press brought to our attention by The Daily Express, German champions Bayern have reacted swiftly by opting to match that particular bid. 

Super Cup loss

Pep Guardiola is widely expected to make further additions to his backline before the end of the current transfer window, with Wednesday evening's disappointing Super Cup defeat to perennial title rivals Borussia Dortmund exposing serious defensive flaws that could prove hugely detrimental to Bayern's attempts to retain their title and climb back to the summit of European football in the coming months.

27-year-old Benatia appears to be one of the continent's most sought-after centre-backs this summer, with his impressive form under Rudi Garcia at the Stadio Olimpico certainly not going unnoticed among a number of elite clubs.

Garcia - who guided Roma to a second-placed finish behind Juventus in Serie A last season - is understandably reluctant to part with one of the club's top assets, although he may be left with little alternative but to search for a replacement sooner rather than later.

"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," the Frenchman was quoted as saying earlier this week.

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Premier League talks

Just how successful Bayern's move for Benatia turns out to be could well depend on how far along the former Udinese star is in negotiations over a potential switch to the Premier League.

Conflicting speculation has suggested that he has entered negotiations with both Manchester United and English title rivals Chelsea, although it remains to be seen whether such information is indeed accurate.

Manchester United's need for defensive reinforcements became even more apparent on Saturday, with the likes of Tyler Blackett selected by Louis van Gaal to start in the defeat against Swansea in the absence of more experienced teammates.

Benatia has no previous experience of the Premier League, of course, although there is little to suggest that he would not prove a superior option to the likes of Blackett, Phil Jones or Chris Smalling.

Chelsea are less desperate to recruit new defenders, with Jose Mourinho boasting the meanest defence in the top-flight in 2013/14.

John Terry and Gary Cahill have developed a superb understanding at Stamford Bridge, although Benatia could feasibly be targeted as Terry's replacement with the former England captain having only signed a 12-month extension to his expiring contract in May.

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Topics:
Bundesliga
Chelsea
Bayern Munich
Serie A
Premier League
Manchester United
Football

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