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HITC: City closing in on Mehdi Benatia?

  • 03 July 2014 08:00
  • Posted by @dclayton_mcfc

City could be about to add a third summer signing according to several reports this morning.

The Blues have been linked with several highly-rated central defenders over the past few months, but a number of reports in Italy suggest a deal is finally on the cards - with Roma’s Mehdi Benatia the target.

Here is the City, sourcing a number of reports, write: “City had long been linked with an opportunistic move to secure the 27-year-old’s services, though Roma’s demands for a lucrative transfer fee remained the primary stumbling block.

“This issue appeared to be resolved with a £30 million offer from Manuel Pellegrini’s men, which the Mirror claimed Roma would be inclined to accept once a suitable replacement for Benatia had been found.

“However, Sky Sport Italia have now maintained that the Stadio Olimpico outfit instead rejected a £28 million bid from City and are holding out for better terms.

Squawka continue the theme: “Reports suggest that Manchester City could be about to pip Chelsea to the signing of Roma centre- back Mehdi Benatia, with The Express reporting that the Citizens have agreed personal terms with the 27-year-old.

“However, despite reports of personal terms being agreed ahead of a £30 million switch, a move to Manchester is not imminent for Benatia. Roma are refusing to sanction a move until they have an adequate replacement signed, putting the brakes on Benatia’s move for the time being.

“The centre-back played 33 times last season, scoring five times. Also linked with Chelsea, Benatia has previously played for Marseille, Clermont and Udinese.

“He turned down the chance to join Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge at the club, but he now looks likely to join City.”

The MEN, however, believe that if the Blues do add a defender to the squad, it won’t be at the expense of Matija Nastasic.

Stuart Brennan writes: “Manchester City have no intention of selling centre-back Matija Nastasic.

“The 21-year-old Serb is one of the four centre-backs manager Manuel Pellegrini wants in his squad next season, along with Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and either Eliaquim Mangala or Mehdi Benatia.

“City are seeking to bring in a central defender, not lose another one, following the departure of Joleon Lescott. Nastasic missed the last four months of last season with a mystery knee injury but made his playing comeback in the post-season friendly with Al Ain.

“Mangala will determine his future after France’s World Cup campaign ends and City are maintaining interest in Benatia, although reports of a £30m bid are untrue.”

Brennan also reports Atletico remain interested in Alavaro Negredo – though City will resist any bids from the La Liga champions.

He continues: “Negredo, who achieved cult status with Blues fans during his first season at the Etihad, is also not for sale.

“Atletico Madrid head the list of clubs after Negredo, who finished the campaign on the bench following a loss of form.

“But City are focusing on what one club source described as the Spaniard’s ‘sensational’ form in the first half of the season when he scored 23 goals in 33 appearances. And they will rebuff any moves from Atletico, who want Negredo to replace Diego Costa, and Tottenham who are the latest to be linked.”

More gossip and rumour tomorrow….

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