Highly Rated Serie A Defender Wants Chelsea Move Despite Manchester City Interest

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Could Mehdi Benatia be on his way to Stamford Bridge this summer…

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Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, a long term transfer target for Manchester City, has reportedly told Gazetta dello Sport that he wants to join Chelsea this summer.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a switch to the Etihad in recent weeks, although that interest appears to have cooled with a deal for Eliaquim Mangala in the pipeline.

Now Italian reports have suggested that Benatia is keen on a move to Stamford Bridge to join-up with Jose Mourinho, who was interested in signing him during his first spell in charge of the Blues.

Benatia, who is available for around £30m, has developed into one of the finest defenders in Serie A since moving from Clermont to Udinese in 2010, and then joining Roma last summer.

The Moroccan international scored five goals in 30 league appearances last season, and while Roma are keen on keeping one of their prize assets ahead of their return to Champions League football, they are willing to sell him at the right price.

Roma set a deadline of 21st July for City to make their decision on whether they wished to sign Benatia, and while that date is still a week away, the Manchester-side appear to have moved on after finally making progress with Porto over a £35m move for Mangala.

Chelsea already have John Terry and Gary Cahill as out-and-out central defenders, while Branislav Ivanovic can also play there. However, there is a space in the Blues squad following the departure of David Luiz, and Mourinho could be tempted into making a move.

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