Bayern Munich have ended their interest in a €30 million deal for Mehdi Benatia and instead turned their attention to £27m-rated Atletico Madrid linchpin Diego Godin, with Corrierre dello Sport reporting that Roma have so far only received a strong, concrete offer for the Moroccan defender from Manchester United.
The Rome-based Sports daily also reports that the Giallorossi have not given up hope of persuading Benatia to stay put and lead their Champions League charge this season, with a bumper new contract offer still on the table that would see the 27-year-old double his current salary to stay in the Eternal City.
Europe's most in-demand defender
Benatia had been viewed by Bayern boss Pep Guardiola as the man to fill the void left by Javi Martinez, who is set for a six-month spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against Borussia Dortmund last week.
Guardiola has abandoned that pursuit though for two reasons, a lofty asking price and small doubts over Benatia's own knee problem, with the Daily Mail reporting that their search for a top-class centre-back has now turned towards Godin.
Roma's valuation puts off Bayern
Roma are only prepared to reluctantly sanction Benatia's departure if they can secure the highest possible transfer fee, with the Giallorossi valuing their talisman at a whopping €37m.
Bayern baulked at that asking price and believe they can get better value for money by spending big on Godin, who was colossal for Atletico last season and scored the goal which secured a dramatic La Liga crown at Barcelona on the final day of the season.
Man United have been in dialogue with Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini and also think the current price tag is too high, but are more receptive to reaching a compromise.
Red Devils now in pole position
Corriere believe that United have tabled an opening offer approaching a fee Roma are prepared to accept for an unheralded star they signed for just €13m last summer, with negotiations ongoing.
Chelsea meanwhile have also held their own tentative talks regarding a future deal for Benatia, but United's need for defensive reinforcements is far greater and may force them to pay a premium for an immediate solution to that problem before the transfer window slams shut.
Roma have not given up hope that they can persuade Benatia to take a 100% payrise as reward for a tremendous debut season at the Stadio Olimpico, but he wants to move on and as a result Man United now look well placed to finally land their third major summer signing.