Manchester City have put Roma defender Mehdi Benatia as their top transfer target this summer, Daily Mail reports.

The Moroccan centre-back is regarded as one of the best defenders in the Italian Serie A, also attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal.

Roma spent around £12million to bring Benatia from Udinese last summer and it proved to be a brilliant purchase.

The 27-year-old is extremely solid at the back and a valuable attacking asset during set pieces, resulting in five goals.

And City boss Manuel Pellegrini sees Benatia as an essential purchase for his side next season.

Meanwhile the Citizens have been in ongoing negotiations with FC Porto over the transfer of Eliaquim Mangala, but his hefty price tag of £35million has been considered too much for the Sky Blues hierarchy.

Unlike Mangala, Benatia should come at a more reasonable value and has already proven himself in one of Europe’s top leagues.

On paper, he would make an excellent partnership with City captain Vincent Kompany, giving the younger Matija Nastasic time to develop.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho gave Benatia a trial during his first stint as the Blues’ boss, but the then Marseille youngster was not ready for a big move so early in his career.