David Moyes has made Roma defender Mehdi Benatia his first choice replacement for Nemanja Vidic, according to the Express.

Reports in Italy suggest Moyes has made the defender – who has previously attracted interest from both Arsenal and Tottenham – his top priority signing at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old Moroccan only joined Roma last summer, in an £11million deal from Udinese.

Manchester United have been linked with a number of defenders since club captain Vidic revealed he will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Now it seems United have turned their attentions to a defender they have been monitoring for some time as their replacement for the Serbian international.

However, Moyes may have a tough task in convincing Benatia to leave Serie A, where he has gone on to make a name for himself after being released by Marseille earlier in his career.

Before he completed his move to Roma last summer, he was linked with a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United reportedly keen on completing a deal.

“I am loving my time in Italy. The league is a very good one and to be honest an important Italian team will always be my first choice unless a huge English, Spanish or German club come for me,”¬†Benatia said at the time.

“The Italian league is a top championship with top clubs who are very attractive as well, so if I have an offer from a big club here I will listen to that club.”

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