Bayern Munich defender Medhi Benatia has ruled out a potential summer transfer to England, amid speculation that Manchester United are interested in the Moroccan international.
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The former AS Roma centre-half joined the German champions last summer but failed to hold down a regular spot under Pep Guardiola as he made just 15 league appearances, although he did start both Champions League semi-final games against Barcelona and scored the opening goal in the second leg.
This has linked the 28-year-old with a move away from the Allianz Arena, with United, as well as Serie A giants Juventus and Inter Milan all interested [via ESPN], but Benatia has committed his immediate future to Bayern:
“Every summer we speak about my possible transfers, but the reality is that I have a contract with Bayern and I want to respect it,” he told Moroccan media outlet Mountakhab TV [via Mirror Sport].
“We lost in the semi-finals of the Champions League to Barcelona and now we want to redeem ourselves next season because the objective of this club is to win the Champions League.
“So, I’m ruling out any possible departure from Bayern,” Benatia added.
It is no secret that United manager Louis van Gaal is keen to bolster his defensive department this summer and has already been linked with a number of potential additions.
Valencia’s Argentine international Nicolas Otamendi is seen as the first-choice target, but there have been conflicting reports in the media this week that suggest a deal could be dragged out for the rest of the summer.
Independent Sport claimed United had a verbal agreement with the player’s agent, however reports in Spain [via Plaza Deportiva] insist Los Che owner Peter Lim will demand the Red Devils pay the €50 million release clause in Otamendi’s contract.
Any potential deal for the defender has been further thrown into doubt after La Liga giants Real Madrid also registered an interest, if reports in Mirror Sport are to be believed.
That could force van Gaal into switching targets with Atletico Madrid defender Joao Miranda thought to be on his list, but he is likely to face competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea, who are also eyeing a move for the £20 million-rated Brazilian [via Telegraph Sport].
Everton’s highly-rated England U-21 international John Stones is also thought to be attracting interest from the Old Trafford outfit, with Mail Sport claiming United are lining up a summer move for the youngster despite the fact he only signed a new deal at Goodison Park last August.