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City preparing to turn to Benatia

ESPN staff
July 2, 2014
Mehdi Benatia is rated at around £30m © AP

Manchester City are interested in Roma's Mehdi Benatia as manager Manuel Pellegrini looks to bolster his defence.

A deal for the £30 million-rated centre-back is not as close as has been reported in Italy but he is on the club's transfer radar for this summer.

City made a bid for Porto's Eliaquim Mangala at the end of the January transfer window but could not agree a deal and while City are still interested in the France international, he has also been linked to Chelsea and Manchester United.

Porto's asking price this summer is also expected to be unacceptable for the Premier League champions and Benatia has emerged as an alternative target after an excellent season helping Roma finish second in Serie A.

The 27-year-old Morocco international cost them £10.7m last summer when he joined from Udinese, but his value has gone up.

City released centre-back Joleon Lescott in the summer, meaning that Pellegrini only has three specialists in the position: captain Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastasic.

Demichelis, who joined from Atletico Madrid last summer, became a regular as they won the title but there has long been the expectation that they would look for a younger player to partner Kompany.

Pellegrini has made two summer signings, bringing in Porto midfielder Fernando and Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna, who can also provide cover in the centre of defence.

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