Manchester City are closing in on Roma defender Mehdi Benatia…
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Manchester City have stolen a march over local rivals Manchester United by securing a £30 million deal for Roma’s Moroccan international defender Mehdi Benatia.
City are still searching for a long-term centre-back partner for captain Vincent Kompany, and the 27-year-old former Udinese and Clermont player has become their prime target after manager Manuel Pellegrini gave up on a deal for Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.
United manager Louis van Gaal was also thought to be interested in the player, as the Old Trafford club continue the reshaping of their squad. The Dutchman has already signed midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and full-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, and is keen to add more new faces.
But Benatia, a strong, no-nonsense tackler who is also an attacking threat at set-pieces, is closing in on a move to the Etihad Stadium, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
However, those reports also state that the deal rests on Roma signing a suitable replacement, ahead of their return to Champions League football next season.
Roma manager Rudi Garcia is reportedly eyeing up River Plate defender Eder Alvarez Balanta, who is currently at the World Cup with Colombia.
The 21-year-old is rated as one of the best young defenders on the planet and has been scouted by Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid amongst others.