Manchester United have suffered a huge setback in their pursuit of centre-back Mehdi Benatia after reports claimed the Roma star has already agreed personal terms to move to Bayern Munich.
Even though United have recently signed versatile defender Marcos Rojo for around £16m, manager, Louis van Gaal is still short of centre-backs – especially considering he favours the 3-4-1-2 formation.
Following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, the Dutch manager now only has Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and new signing Rojo as recognised first-team central defenders in the squad – with youngster Tyler Blackett rushed in for his Premier League debut in the opening season defeat against Swansea.
According to the reports, Van Gaal has earmarked Benatia as his top target to lead the back-line with the club considering matching his £25m-£30m valuation.
However, L'equipe claim the Premier League giants are set to miss out as the player is close to moving to Bayern Munich instead.
The German giants have identified the Roma defender as a top target after realisation Javi Martinez will be out for six months due to a knee injury.
The French newspaper reports that Benatia has already agreed personal terms with Bayern while the clubs are still negotiating the terms of the deal.
Bayern are said to be offering £20m while Roma insists on £24m plus £4m as add-on fees to seal the deal.
Nevertheless, L'equipe understands the deal is close as Roma have indeed already contacted Manchester City to sign Matija Nastasic as a replacement.
Benatia, 27, is one of the most sought-after defensive players amongst Europe's elite attracting interest from United, Chelsea and City.
However, City ended their interest following Eliaquim Mangala's signing while Jose Mourinho recenty excluded Chelsea from the race to acquire him.
"We are not interested. We have John (Terry), (Gary) Cahill, (Branislav Ivanovic, (Kurt) Zouma," Mourinho said.