Chelsea have made a shocking attempt to hijack Manchester City’s move for Roma’s Mehdi Benatia by offering £18million plus Romelu Lukaku, Express reports.
Reports in Italy suggest that Blues boss Jose Mourinho is keen to bring the highly-rated defender to Stamford Bridge and will do everything necessary to stop the Moroccan from joining Man City.
City are currently negotiating personal terms with the player, but with no agreed fee between the two clubs, the intervening bid from Chelsea will raise Benatia’s transfer cost to at least £38million.
There has been strong interest from many of the Premier League’s top sides for the former Udinese man including Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United.
However it now seems that Chelsea are the favourites to land Benatia, much to the frustration of Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
The Chilean manager has been in the search for a world class defender to partner Vincent Kompany, but may now have to look elsewhere with Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala an adequate candidate.
Despite all the interest, Roma captain Francesco Totti is hoping that Roma should do all they can to keep Benatia at the club, stating: “He is a strong player, who can perform at international level.
“Benatia is a top player and these are players that should be kept.
“I do not want to talk about the business matters, but I just hope that we can find a solution.”