Mehdi Benatia free to leave Roma for £49.6m

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Football News

Roma defender Mehdi Benatia can leave the Serie A giants for £49.6 million this summer, according to the club's director of football Walter Sabatini.

This has been reported by the Express, who have suggested that Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea are both interested in the player's services. La Liga outfit Real Madrid have also been credited with interest in the Roma man, but it remains to be seen as to whether any of the three clubs are willing to pay his club's asking price. 

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It appears, then, that the central-defender won't come cheap in this transfer window, with Sabatini having set his valuation on the player. 

Speaking to reporters, he said: "I believe that Mehdi has been influenced by his agent. He speaks of €30m (£24.4m), so we need at least €60 maybe even €61.

"Anyone who wants Benatia will have to pay €61 (£49.6m)."

£49.6m is certainly a huge fee, and it seems unlikely that the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea would be willing to pay it. If the Red Devils were to pay it, then they would smash their current club record deal that saw Juan Mata arrive at Old Trafford. 

United options 

Manchester United are certainly in need of defensive recruits following the departures of experienced trio Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra at the end of last season. New Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal - who looks set to play three at the back next season - only has the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans competing for places in his starting back-line. 

With the season set to begin this weekend, United fans will certainly be hoping the club invest in the defensive area, but Roma's centre-half will certainly come at a price. 

David Luiz replacement? 

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, also seems determined to add to his defensive options in this transfer window. The Blues boss sold flamboyant Brazilian defender David Luiz earlier this summer, and it appears that Mourinho could be on the lookout for his replacement.

The Blues already have the likes of Gary Cahill, John Terry and Kurt Zouma competing for places in their back-line, but Benatia would no doubt improve them further as they look to challenge for the title in 2014/15. 

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