AS Roma’s 2nd place finish in this season’s Serie A was their best finish in three seasons. They put forth a huge defensive effort, conceding the second-fewest amount of goals in the league.
A large portion of their success can be attributed to the play of center-back Mehdi Benatia. In his lone season with i Giallorossi, the 27-year-old Moroccan international played 33 league matches for Roma and scored five goals, while also constantly being asked to mark the highly talented forwards of the Italian league.
Many top European clubs have taken notice of the play of Benatia, some of which began tracking him as a youth. He began his senior career at the historic Marseille, but failed to make any appearances for the Ligue 1 club. He did do well on a loan spell at Tours, where he began to show flashes in his first opportunity at first team football.
But it was during his spell at Clermont that Benatia began to really impress. He matured as a player and made almost 60 Ligue 2 appearances for the club. It was only a matter of time before he got snatched up by a bigger club. Finally, Udinese of the Serie A picked him up on a free transfer. And after 72 appearances in three seasons, he was snatched up by Roma.
With his great play this last season, Benatia finally began to hear his name be linked to the big name clubs. German champions Bayern Munich put in a bid for him in an attempt to strengthen their back-line.
According to Gazzetta dello sport, Bayern Munich’s €33 million offer for Benatia’s services was rejected by Roma. Roma’s director of sport, Walter Sabatini, had determined Benatia’s price tag to be over the €60 million mark.
Sabatini indicated, “Benatia is not for sale. If his agent wants to speculate on a price for him, then any clubs who are interested should consider him to be worth €61 million. If someone were to offer that amount, then I don’t think I could guarantee that he would stay 100%.”
Premier League clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City are still in the running for signing Benatia. Bayern Munich may also put in another bid as well, as they have tons of money to spend.
But with such a high price tag on himself, Benatia might end up staying. He will be playing Champions League football next year, even if he stays at Roma. But the money he could make elsewhere is too enticing. He believes that he is a big name player who should be making big name money.