Manchester United have missed out on the chance to sign one of the best central defenders on form in Europe over the last 12 months, with Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reporting that Bayern Munich have beaten the Red Devils to agree a deal with Roma for Moroccan international Mehdi Benatia.
Benatia has been linked with a whole host of Europe's top clubs over the last 12 months, with Man United, Chelsea and even Arsenal all tracking the situation very closely after Roma's offer of a bumper pay rise was flatly refused last week.
That snub forced Roma back to the negotiating table to offload their talisman just six days before the start of the Serie A campaign, but despite lowering their asking price to an initial €24m its Bayern who have struck an agreement ahead of their three Premier League rivals for Benatia's signature.
Bonuses and salary seal the deal
Roma have finally relented and allowed Benatia to leave the Eternal City because they believe a structured deal with Bayern will eventually allow them to recoup all of the €30m they set as a benchmark to sanction a key figure's sale.
Bayern will pay €24m upfront for an instant solution to the injury crisis created by the versatile Javi Martinez's knee injury, with a further €6m due in add-ons if the deal proves to be a success in terms of appearances and trophies for Benatia at the Allianz Arena.
Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea all talked terms with Roma over Benatia but simply weren't willing to match that lofty €30m valuation despite their need for defensive reinforcements, with Red Devils fans in particular probably exasperated that their club weren't willing to pay a premium to solve a glaring flaw in the current United squad.
Roma move on to steal Manolas
The Giallorossi have wasted no time in finding a suitable replacement for Benatia and have beaten Arsenal to agree a deal for Olympiakos defender Koastas Manolas, with the Greek international touching down in Roma to talks terms and pass a medical earlier today.
Manolas will cost Roma around £10.4m and make sure Roma aren't caught short in their bid to last the course in a Scudetto fight with Juventus this year, although they are still chasing an additional deal for Tottenham Hotspur defender Vlad Chiriches.
Roma still have six days to add the final touches to a squad which already includes experienced defensive options such as Ashley Cole, Maicon and Seydou Keita, all while Arsenal & Man United flounder in their search for a new centre-back.