What’s the Story?
Manchester United are interested in making a move for Juventus’ defender Mehdi Benatia according to Tuttosport. The report suggests that the defender has grown increasingly unsettled over his role at the Turin based club.
Jose Mourinho wants to add some quality to his backline after the start of the season was troubled by the lack of a commanding centre-half in the squad. Benatia’s involvement has reduced after Leonardo Bonnucci’s return from AC Milan.
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Ed Woodward had failed to deliver the desired centre-back targets to United in the previous transfer window. Mourinho was apparently adamant to land an experienced defender to solve their defensive woes.
However, United made failed attempts for the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire, Jerome Boateng and even Diego Godin in the end.
The Heart of the Matter
United desperately need a good defensive reinforcement as they have already lost quite a few points due to the lack of a seasoned defender. The likes of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were abysmal at the beginning of the season. Lindelof has significantly improved in the past month or so, the team’s defensive core is very shaky nevertheless.
Benatia, who has been benched seven times in the Serie A and has played only one Champions League fixture for the club has been frustrated with such less playing time.
The defender was an integral part of the team last season or when they played with a three-man backline. However, Bonnucci and Giorgio Chiellini have occupied the centre-back spots and there are very few chances that Benatia would attain more playing time going ahead in the season.
The Moroccan international said, “I struggle to play with no consistency. I was doing well last season because I was playing on a regular basis. Now it’s not the same. This is my job and I always need to work hard to be ready to play but it’s a situation I don’t like.
I am 31 and I want to play as much as I can. Let’s see what happens in January, how many games I will play. Let’s see if Juve and Allegri need me. I am here to give my best and that’s what I will do. If the manager needs me in the Champions League I will be ready.”
Rumour Probability: 6/10
Benatia’s own words indicate that he would prefer spending more time on the pitch rather than the bench. His services were well utilized by Juventus but the manager does not seem to prefer starting with at the moment.
The coming two months would shed a better reflection on whether Benatia is played more compared to the start of the season. If not, then United might as well consider making a move as the 31-year-old could be keen to leave the Serie A Champions too.
Mehdi Benatia is an intelligent reader of the game and a commanding presence in defence.
Manchester United will incidentally face off against Juventus tomorrow night at Turin. Benatia did not start the first leg of this encounter, which Allegri’s side won by a margin of one goal.