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Benatia Fancies Roma Return

With Roma in desperate need of a central defender, and with Mehdi Benatia in desperate need of playing time, it appears as though a reunion is in the cards. Can Roma outbid Juve for their former standout defender?

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

I'm not sure how many of our readers our British, but we're not going to discuss the Brexit, nor the cockamamy notion that the lack of open borders will suddenly inhibit Premiership clubs from raiding the mainland as they please (as if multimillion dollar athletes and billion dollar clubs operate by the same rules as normal people) and focus on Roma's continuing search for an Antonio Rüdiger replacement because Norbert Gyomber ain't cutting it, folks.

While we still don't know who will be manning the flank opposite of Alessandro Florenzi next season--could be Mario Rui could still be Lucas Digne--there is one certainty in Roma's defense; Kostas Manolas, and that's about it. Rumors in Rüdiger's absence have been conspicuously quiet, beyond the ocassional Samuel Umtiti mention. For some strange reason, though the club is connected to every midfielder on the planet, there has been a dearth of defensive rumors.

Perhaps there is a reason, and perhaps it's because they're looking into their past, back to 2013-2014 during the glorious reign of Mehdi Benatia. We won't rehash the entire saga, but in case you're new here, here's the cliff's notes: Benatia was brought in to replace Marquinhos, flourished, clashed with management over his wage figures and was sold to Bayern Munich for €28 million, for whom he hasn't found much success, leading to rumors of an exit; rumors that are growing louder now that Munich has landed Mats Hummels.

The latest news in this would be reunion revolves around how loosely Munich interprets the word "transfer": do they want a straight, cash up front sale? Or are they willing to go the loan route, or even the loan with an option to buy route? If they choose either of the latter, Roma might stand a chance of outbidding Juventus for Benatia's signature.

While some of the shine has worn off Benatia, he's only 29-years-old and hasn't accumulated a ton of miles since leaving Rome and his rumored desire to return to Roma, where he'd slide right back into the starting lineup unlike in Turin, certainly bodes in the club's favor and would seem to suggest that he's willing to let bygones be bygones.

He may not be Zlatan, nor a Brexit inspired capture of Christian Eriksen, but a reunion with Mehdi Benatia may be just what the doctor ordered.