Barcelona eye £12m Chelsea defender target

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Chelsea target Mehdi Benatia is now on the radar of Spanish giants Barcelona, according to reports in Italy, says talkSPORT.

The 25-year-old Udinese defender has been identified by both Premier League and La Liga clubs as a man to shore up their leaky defences, though they will also face rival competition from the likes of AC Milan and Juventus.

Tito Vilanova is currently without first-choice centre-back pairing Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, with both players sidelined through injury.

As a result, Barca have looked increasingly frail at the back in recent weeks, shipping four goals in their last league outing, and one against Celtic in the Champions League last night.

Meanwhile, Chelsea lost 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, meaning Roberto Di Matteo's side have now conceded four in two European games this term, putting their attempts at being the first ever side to defend the Champions League crown at peril.

The Blues might look to resolve their defensive issues by being proactive in the January market, but with Benatia valued at around £12million, and under contract at Udinese until 2017, in addition to the widespread interest in his signature, a Stamford Bridge move for the Moroccan, now looks increasingly unlikely.

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