Roma are finally ready to admit defeat in their bid to keep defensive linchpin Mehdi Benatia and held talks in London with both Manchester United and Chelsea over the £24m-rated defender last weekend.
The Times reported this morning that Giallorossi sporting director Walter Sabatini was a very busy man during his trip to England and made it clear Roma will reluctantly allow Benatia to secure a lucrative summer switch, but only if potential suitors are prepared to pay a premium.
Sabatini also attempted to line up a replacement and met Tottenham Hotspur chiefs to discuss Romanian centre-back Vlad Chiriches, but nothing has been decided on that front and thanks to interest in Benatia from Bayern Munich both United and Chelsea now face a huge struggle to get this deal over the line.
Sabatini pulling the strings
Man United in particular look desperately short of defensive options and could definitely benefit from the strength, leadership and aerial ability Benatia provided at the Stadio Olimpico last season.
Roma kept a whopping 20 clean sheets last season and made last summer's €13m deal for Benatia look an absolute steal, particularly with some Europe's richest clubs now offering the possibility of a sizeable profit for one of the continent's top defenders.
With quality centre-backs in such short supply in this summer's transfer market United and Chelsea both took a meeting with Sabatini, but it looks like they've failed to reach a concrete agreement and allowed Bayern to swoop with a last-ditch offer.
Guardiola moves quickly
Bayern have been forced into the transfer market late on after club-record signing Javi Martinez suffered a knee injury in the German Supercup against Borussia Dortmund last week, a long-term problem that will keep the Spaniard sidelined for around seven months.
Despite having a vast array of talent at his disposal Guardiola now wants another defender and believes he can persuade Benatia to turn down the Premier League and pick Bayern, with talks ongoing with Roma over a deal with would leave Man United boss Louis van Gaal seriously struggling to land a new defender before the transfer window slams shut.
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