Mehdi Benatia's anger over contract talks paves way for £32m move

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Roma defender Mehdi Benatia has described a recent contract offer from the Giallorossi as derisory and refused to rule out a move this summer, giving the likes of Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United new hope that a big bid would see the Moroccan international swap Serie A for the Premier League.

Benatia is fresh from a fantastic first season with Roma, forming the bedrock of a strong defence which kept a whopping 21 clean sheets across the course of brilliant season, led by Rudi Garcia.

The French coach is desperate to keep his central defensive linchpin and sanctioned a new deal offered this week, but Benatia has told Gazzetta dello Sport that terms of less than €3m per season is far from acceptable and represents a broken promise from his current employers.

In an revealing interview Benatia disclosed: "I never said I want to leave. But Roma have not kept their promises. They had told me that they would make me a new contract offer if I had a great season.

"But I have received an unacceptable proposal, less than €3million per season. I replied that I would not sign it.

"I've only said that anyone dreams of teams like Real, Bayern and City.

"My agent is doing his job, I could leave but I could also stay and finish my career in Roma. But I was disappointed, I deserved more respect."

Europe's top clubs are all believed to be monitoring contract talks between Benatia and Roma, with Barcelona and City look the most likely to register a concrete offer due to an acute need for defensive reinforcements.

Roma are thought to value their top defender at a whopping £32m and with Champions League football back at the Stadio Olimpico next season they are in a strong bargaining position.

Even a cut on that lofty valuation would represent a massive profit for Roma if they decide to cash in this summer, on a 27-year-old signed from Udinese for just £12m last year.

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