Chelsea join Mehdi Benatia transfer race

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Chelsea have joined Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Mehdi Benatia, the AS Roma defender who is valued at £30 million.

The London Metro cites a report in Italian publication Gazzetta Dello Sport claiming the Blues are eyeing up the Morocco international as a replacement for David Luiz, who joined Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer in a mouthwatering £50 million deal.

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Jose Mourinho has welcomed Kurt Zouma back to Stamford Bridge following the completion of his loan spell with Saint Etienne, but despite the presence of the France U21 international - as well as first choice centre-back pairing John Terry and Gary Cahill - the Portuguese boss is still in the market for another central defender.

Man United interest

Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has been heavily linked with a move for Benatia as well, as he looks to strengthen his defensive ranks at Old Trafford ahead of the new campaign.

The Premier League giants look particularly light in that area of their squad following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand earlier this summer.

Benatia is highly regarded in Italy after a couple of standout seasons in Serie 'A', but it will be difficult for Manchester United to attain his signature now that Chelsea are reportedly interested.

Spurs interest

Mauricio Pochettino has also been mooted as an admirer of the 27-year-old, however, the fact that Spurs - like Manchester United - are unable to offer the player Champions League football makes it highly unlikely he would consider a switch to White Hart Lane.

That leaves Mourinho in the driving seat when it comes to negotiating a deal for Benatia, providing he can convince him to ignore pleas from his Roma team-mates and quit Stadio Olimpico in favour of a move to west London.

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