Chelsea have entered the race to sign Roma defender Mehdi Benatia by offering the Serie A runners-up £18m plus striker Romelu Lukaku, according to the Daily Express.
This bid hijacks Man City’s move for the 27-year-old, with Chelsea’s bid now meaning that the Premier League champions must return with an improved offer of around £38m if they want to claim Benatia’s signature.
Man City had yet to agree on a fee with Roma, but personal terms with Benatia had all been completed. Manager Manuel Pellegrini is keen to add more quality to his defence this summer, and should he lose out in the race to sign Benatia, he may turn his attentions back to FC Porto star Eliaquim Mangala.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is determined to prevent Man City from landing the Moroccan international, and is happy to allow Lukaku to leave Stamford Bridge despite his lack of appearances for the Blues. Mourinho is reportedly concerned about the youngster’s attitude.
Benatia has only been at Roma for one season, but his performances helped Roma to a strong finish in Serie A, contributing to an impressive defensive record. Overall he has made 37 appearances, scoring five goals.
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