The Sky Blues have been heavily linked with Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala as they target a centre-back to form a long-term partnership with Vincent Kompany, but they are now thought to be backing out of a move.
Any potential agreement for the Frenchman is likely to be difficult to reach, due to third parties being involved in his ownership.
As a result City are now looking closely at Benatia, who could be available in the coming months.
The Moroccan star has only been at Roma for one season, yet his future is in doubt after he turned down a recent new contract offer, which he deemed to be “unacceptable”.
This has alerted Manuel Pellegrini, who is ready to sanction a £25m offer and present Benatia with a £90,000-per-week salary.
Such a proposal may well tempt the classy defender, who would double his earnings by swapping the Stadio Olimpico for the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester United have also been linked with the Roma ace, yet City’s financial muscle and Champions League guarantees look to have made them favourites.