Manchester United and Chelsea have been told they have until August 24 to complete a deal for Roma defender Mehdi Benatia according to the Mirror.
The Serie A outfit want the defender's future resolved sooner rather than later in order to know whether they will have the cash to finance a move for Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic, add the newspaper.
Benatia is reportedly valued at £25 million, and Manchester City will likely hold out for a similar fee for Jovetic, who has had a tough time at the Etihad Stadium since his switch from Fiorentina last year.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly keen on Benatia, while Bayern Munich are also believed to have shown an interest in him. Rated as one of the finest defenders in Serie A, Manchester City had shown an interest in Benatia, before opting to pursue a deal for Eliaquim Mangala from Porto instead.
There has been mixed reports regarding both Chelsea and Manchester United's interest in the 27-year-old, however both teams look to be in need of more options at the back.
Chelsea have sold David Luiz but have not bought a direct replacement, although Kurt Zouma has arrived at Stamford Bridge from Saint Etienne. Blues boss Jose Mourinho says he is happy with his current options at the back, but that hasn't stopped reports suggesting otherwise.
Manchester United plans
Manchester United are in desperate need of reinforcements at the back having lost Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, along with Patrice Evra at full-back. New Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is reportedly close to deals for Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind. Both are capable of playing in the centre of defence but the Dutchman may opt to move for a specialist in that position - a description that Benatia certainly fits.
Along with added numbers at the back, Manchester United are looking to add bodies going forward and have been linked with a big-money move for Angel di Maria. Various reports this morning say a £50 million bid could be on the cards, while they will also offer the winger a £200,000-per-week contract.
Should that happen it would go some way to easing the sense of frustration felt by the club's fans, who are still waiting on the first signing of the Van Gaal-era to arrive.
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