Mehdi Benatia set for Bayern Munich move

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Mehdi Benatia looks set to join Bayern Munich, snubbing Manchester United and Chelsea's advances in the process.

This is according to The Sun, who claim that in-demand Roma defender Benatia is heading to the Bundesliga champions after holding talks with renowned Bayern boss Pep Guardiola.

Benatia found himself at the centre of a storm of persistent transfer rumours over the weekend, with reports that Bayern had matched Manchester United's ambitious £24 million offer for the Moroccan international centre-back.

With Chelsea also having been strongly linked with his signature in recent days, it appeared that Benatia - who only joined Roma from Serie A rivals Udinese last July - would be faced with a very tough decision over his future.

Bayern allure

The allure of Bayern Munich looks to have been just too enticing for the 27-year-old to ignore, however, with the opportunity to compete consistently for trophies at both European and domestic level under the guidance of arguably the world's best manager seemingly just too good an option to dismiss.

Roma boss Rudi Garcia will be crestfallen to be losing the services of such a dominant defensive presence after just one season of service, although such a princely sum should allow the Frenchman to seek sufficient replacements and ensure that the club are able to challenge Juventus' unrelenting stranglehold on the Serie A title in 2014/15.

Given the sheer weight of interest in the player from some of the continent's most reputable clubs, Benatia would appear to represent somewhat of a coup for Bayern Munich.

Guardiola was obviously very concerned at his side's lack of defensive prowess during last week's disappointing German Super Cup defeat to Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park and Benatia's arrival should help to solidify Bayern's backline and compensate for the loss of defensive midfielder Javi Martinez, who unfortunately tore a cruciate ligament in his left knee during that aforementioned loss.

Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news

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Manchester United/Chelsea setback

If suggestions that Benatia has opted for Bayern Munich do indeed prove to be correct, then such a decision would represent the latest blow of what appears to have been another very difficult summer for Manchester United.

Following all the mistakes that occurred on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and David Moyes' watch this time last year, Red Devils supporters were understandably hopeful and excited at just which world-class talents would be following Louis van Gaal to Old Trafford this time around.

Aside from June's arrivals of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, however, Manchester United are yet to complete any major signings under Van Gaal and remain notably short on high-quality defenders following the exits of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.

Given that Van Gaal is keen to implement a formation at the club that requires three centre-backs on the pitch at any one time, this is a particular problem that was made painfully obvious during the Premier League defeat to Swansea City on Saturday.

Where Manchester United go now is yet to be seen, although there has been talk of a possible bid for experienced AC Milan defender Philippe Mexes.

Chelsea should not suffer to quite the same degree from missing out on Benatia, not when Jose Mourinho has one of the finest centre-back pairings in England to call-upon in the form of John Terry and Gary Cahill as well as the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and young Kurt Zouma in reserve.

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