Italian Newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, has reported that Arsene Wenger is in talks with Serie A side AS Roma, in the view to capture Chelsea, United & Spurs target Mehdi Benatia as a replacement for former club captain Thomas Vermaelen.
The paper was quoted as reporting,
“Baldissoni and Sabatini are considering other routes for Benatia, and his replacements alternatives (Nastasic and Chiriches): had dinner with Franco Baldini (Tottenham), in the coming hours will also meet Wenger (Arsenal) and Van Gaal (Manchester United).”
It has been confirmed that the Roma director has flown down to England to discuss Benatia’s future. However, it is not evident that the Gunners will be able to land him easily as there is heavy competition for the defender. It is also reported that Roma have several offers from Bayern Munich in the range of €28 million and after the defender has rejected the contract offers from the Italian side, Roma will be looking to sell him for the highest bidder.
Having previously accepted that he is far from done in the transfer window, Arsene Wenger claimed that
“We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number,” the 64-year-old Frenchman told Arsenal.com.
“I can’t tell you how likely I am [to make a signing], I just said I am open to doing it. It has to be linked with the needed quality.”
It is pretty clear that Benatia will trigger a bidding war amidst the Premier league clubs, but it is not sure how much Arsene Wenger wants him at the Emirates. Having said that, both Arsenal and United are in dire need of quality defenders to cope up for the long season ahead of them.