Bayern Munich reach deal with Roma to sign defender Benatia

Bayern Munich have signed Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia on a five-year contract.  

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German champions Bayern Munich have won the race to sign highly-rated defender Mehdi Benatia from Roma.

The 27-year-old Morocco international had reportedly been a target for both Arsenal and Manchester United after excelling at the Stadio Olimpico to help Roma finish second in the Serie A table last season.

But Bundesliga giants Bayern have now secured his services for the next five years.

A statement published on the club’s official website read: "On Tuesday afternoon the German champions reached an agreement with Roma over the transfer of Mehdi Benatia. Both clubs have agreed not to disclose the transfer fee.

"Benatia will come to Munich in the next few days to undergo a medical. The central defender will then sign a five-year contract."

Bayern boss Pep Guardiola, whose side kicked off their latest title defence with a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg at the weekend, has already strengthened his back-line with the summer addition of Juan Bernat from Valencia.

But the loss of Javi Martinez for around six months due to torn cruciate ligaments has necessitated the recruitment of another body in the back four.

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Roma took a calculated risk when signing Benatia from Udinese for 13.5 million euros last summer but his commanding performances in the Giallorossi defence were pivotal across a campaign that saw the capital club secure their return to the Champions League.

He made 33 league appearances – scoring five goals – and in 19 of those games, Roma kept a clean sheet.

His final days in Rome have been tinged with bitterness, however. The France-born player recently claimed Roma had reneged on an agreement to increase his wages.

Reports in Italy suggested Roma valued Benatia at no less than 40 million euros but Bayern are understood to have been successful with a bid approaching 30 million euros.

Roma are set to replace the 27-year-old with Olympiacos defender Kostas Manolas, who was on Tuesday undergoing a medical in the Italian capital.