Benatia's agent says no travel yet, Manchester United in talks, how things stand

Mehdi Benatia has been on his way to Manchester since Saturday afternoon according to Sky Sports. The Moroccan international defender must be taking the scenic route or perhaps the same method of transport that Edward Woodward used for his urgent transfer business last summer. Either way, he hasn't turned up yet.

Various Italian media outlets spoke to Roma on Saturday afternoon through to Saturday evening and the Italian club were denying the claims of a deal being close or Benatia being on his way to Manchester. Il Messaggero reckon the player's agent, Moussa Sissoko, has also denied the rumours coming from England about Benatia going to Manchester.

However, none of this means a deal isn't being discussed, maybe Sky Sports just jumped the gun a little. Il Messaggero say that AS Roma's Walter Sabatini held a 'rendezvous' with some 'intermediaries of the Red Devils' on Saturday to talk about Benatia. That could be the most concrete thing yet. They also cover the club's denials about Benatia travelling to Manchester and mention interest from Bayern Munich.

That would be a worry for Louis van Gaal. Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola have been rocked by a serious knee injury to Javi Martinez and are primarily looking for a defender, which is where Guardiola was going to play the Spaniard. The German champions have spent just over €10m so far this summer and have brought in well over €40m, there's plenty of cash available. 

Il Tempo say that Benatia would have to break a promise he made to both fans and team mates to stay at Roma, should he leave. However they also go on to say that Roma denying everything about a possible move could be a negotiating tactic to get more money out of Manchester United. Il Tempo, to the relief of Manchester United fans, claim a move to Old Trafford is more viable than to the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

A lot of the Italian newspapers are saying the same things about Sabatini's trip to London and Paris, regarding Benatia talks, Destro interest, Rabiot and more. It sounds like there's been a briefing. A possible replacement for Benatia is mentioned in several of the reports, and that's Marko Basa of Lille. Rudi Garcia bought him whilst manager at the French club and would like him in Rome. Lille aren't so keen but money talks.

The asking price, again throughout the reports so looking like a leak, is €35m. That works out to be £28m, Edward Woodward may try and get that down a little and could have some joy.

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