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Mehdi Benatia Reportedly Close to Leaving Roma, Several Clubs in Negotiations

Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are reportedly in different stages of negotiation for Mehdi Benatia, who has not joined Roma on their trip to Athens.

Paolo Bruno

At this point, we've nearly run things to say about the Mehdi Benatia transfer saga. With each passing day, new wrinkles are added to the story, new wage demands are fabricated from thin air, and new clubs remove their heads from the sand to have a look, including the latest party to enter the fray, Arsenal. The Daily Star claims the Gunners are prepared to go head-to-head with Manchester United for Benatia's signature.

Meanwhile the presumed front runners, Bayern Munich, have reportedly hit a stumbling block in their negotiations for Roma's top defender. Germany's Sport 1 (via RomaNews) reported earlier today that Bayern wasn't comfortable investing potentially €75m in Benatia--€35m in transfer fees and a five-year €40m contract with Benatia. This could be a negotiating tactic or perhaps the German champions have financial limitations after all.

In any event, with word that Benatia has not accompanied Roma to Athens for their friendly against AEK and rumors that he has, indeed, already left Trigoria and said his official goodbyes, though not to the fans, it seems that Benatia's days as a Roma player are numbered. Quite frankly, his hours as a Roma player may be numbered, its simply a question of where he's going and how much Roma stand to profit from the hottest commodity on the transfer market.

We'll keep you updated as the "news" breaks, but at this point, there aren't really any further insights anyone can offer. Either Roma screwed the pooch by not living up to their handshake agreement to raise his wages after qualifying for the Champions League, or Benatia was always hell-bent on moving to a more glamorous club, using Roma's subpar offer as an excuse to leave.

Either way, neither party comes out of this unscathed. Benatia becomes a mercenary, while Walter Sabatini earns the rare demerit on his otherwise sterling record for letting this ordeal play out this far into the summer.

We should all be thankful that this is (mercifully) coming to an end...we hope.