Arsenal have reportedly approached Medhi Benatia as Unai Emery looks to strengthen his squad in the January market. The 31 year old defender had fallen out of favour with Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus. Recently while uploading a story on his Instagram account which was asked in a restaurant about whether the centre back would dedicate his next goal to his waiter. Benatia’s reply was
“I have to play in order to score.”
Benatia’s comments seem to suggest the player’s dissatisfaction with his limited role under the Italian boss. The Moroccan is currently being utilized as a backup to Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellin being the preferred centre back pairing at Turin. The lack of playing time at Juventus would have clearly frustrated the Moroccan International who has only featured in 5 Serie A games this season.
The uncertainty surrounding the Moroccan defender’s future at Turin is said to have escalated Arsenal’s interest in procuring his services. Injuries to players Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Skhodran Mustafi have left a huge void in Arsenal’s defense which has been shaky at best this season. Emery could solve this problem by going for Benatia in the January window.
However, Arsenal might face competition from the Bundesliga club Schalke according to transfer insider Nicholas Schira.
L’entourage di Mehdi #Benatia ha ricevuto proposte da #Arsenal e #Schalke nelle ultime settimane: il centrale marocchino era pronto a valutarle, ma per la #Juventus a gennaio è incedibile. In estate invece probabile l’addio #calciomercato
— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) January 5, 2019
In few other reports on Daily Mail and Mirror, it has been said that Benatia could also be used a makeweight by Juventus as part of the rumored Aaron Ramsey deal. Ramsey having entered the final period of his contract at the Emirates is free to contact European clubs who have been battling for his signature.
The rumour mill has suggested that the Arsenal midfielder has already signed a pre-contract with Juventus, although this has not been officially confirmed by either Arsenal or the interested party Juventus. If Juventus want to keep hold of Benatia, who was widely considered as one of Europe’s best defenders a few years back, they will most likely have to wait till the summer window to get Ramsey.
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While the Gazzetta dello Sport do report that Arsenal are more interested in the quick fix rather than waiting for the summer window to arrive at the end of the season, and that Benatia could be included as a part of the deal on offer to Arsenal to secure the services of the Welshman, it seems highly unlikely that Juventus will be interested in letting a quality defender leave now in the middle of the season when in all likelihood they will have Ramsey either way in the summer and that too at no cost if reports are to be believed.
Arsenal need a defender now rather than the summer if they are to keep their season from spiralling like it almost has with their mounting list of injuries and Benatia is not their man than they do need to look elsewhere and fast.
Moreover the terms on offer for Ramsey, if he does go on to sign for Juventus is all set to make him their third highest earning star behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. All the more sense for Ramsey to wait till the summer and hold the upper edge in negotiations rather than him letting Arsenal dictate his next club.
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