27-year-old Moroccan defender Benatia - who has been frequently linked with the Red Devils over recent months - joined Roma from Udinese last summer but claims he could have joined Chelsea during his previous stint with Marseille after a hearty recommendation from one of the club's biggest names.
"Chelsea? I did a test three or four days. I was at a table with Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele. They had a big team at the time but I still did not feel ready to go," Benatia said in an interview that was quoted by French publication Le10 Sport.
"They offered me a professional contract for three years. It made me a little scared abroad. I felt good in Marseille, I had been upgraded in all categories. Going to Chelsea I - am may be lost. Didier Drogba told Jose Mourinho that I had been with him at Guingamp and Marseille and he had to take me."
Although Benatia obviously chose not to accept Chelsea's offer, his subsequent stay at the Stade Velodrome did not prove a particularly happy one.
After failing to make a single appearance for OM during a three year-stint that also included relatively unsuccessful loan spells with Tours and Lorient, Benatia joined Ligue 2 side Clermont in 2008 before moving on to Italy in 2010.
While that is Benatia's past, it remains unclear what the future holds for the experienced centre-back.
No further rumours concerning a switch to Stamford Bridge appear to have circulated with John Terry and Gary Cahill having performed so impressively as a partnership and it remains to be seen whether Manchester United will look to make their interest concrete this summer when a successor to David Moyes is appointed at Old Trafford.
However, with Nemanja Vidic set to join Inter Milan when his contract expires in a few short months time, there is certainly no doubt whatsoever that whoever takes charge as the next permanent boss of Manchester United will surely need to invest in at least one new stellar defensive talent.
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