Jose Mourinho’s long-lasting search for a new centre-back has been afforded a welcoming boost after a series of knock-backs, as Roma star Mehdi Benatia appears to still be on the market.
Yesterday it was claimed that Chelsea were set to miss out on the capture of the Moroccan international after he agreed terms with German giants Bayern Munich, but it now seems as though a potential deal between Roma and their Bavarian counterparts has collapsed over differences concerning the price of the transfer.
Naturally Mourinho will now smell blood in the water, and French source RMC are today reporting that Benatia’s club could turn to Stamford Bridge in a bid to get the €40 million they value their star performer at.
It’s believed that Bayern weren’t willing to go above €30 million, but Rudi Garcia and the powers that be at the Stadio Olimpico are holding out for around €10 million more. If all goes well then talks could be held between Chelsea and Roma, with the meeting engineered to attempt to seal a deal which would see Benatia moving to the Blues.
In other transfer news at the Bridge it would seem that Fernando Torres could be living on borrowed time, with speculation mounting that the club want to swap him for Italy star Mattia Destro. Only 11 days remain of this summer’s transfer window and questions remain over the Spaniard’s future, particularly in the wake of Didier Drogba having been signed.
Torres’ departure would free up £175,000-a-week on the wage bill, but it remains to be seen whether Mourinho would secure a like for like replacement.
Talk of Mario Balotelli making a surprise return to the Premier League has been rife of late, but Liverpool appear to be favourites for his signature, despite Chelsea intentions. The Italian striker is on his way out of AC Milan, with the club undergoing something of a transitional period, and it now appears his next step could once more be England.
The controversial forward has worked with Mourinho before, and has played up his relationship with The Special One in the past, but the Blues boss might not be willing to risk his squad harmony by bringing Balotelli in, particularly as the situation regarding Petr Cech's future remains on tenterhooks.
Is it possible that the most explosive reunion of the summer could happen in the next few days? Only time will tell.