Roma's highly coveted defender Mehdi Benatia appears to be on his way to the Bundesliga to join Bayern Munich, after telling his club he favours them over Manchester United.
The player has been a target of United in recent weeks, but it appears they seem destined to miss out on yet another star signing.
Ben Green of 101GreatGoals.com highlights a report in trusted French paper L'Equipe, which claims Benatia's agent Moussa Sissoko was in Munich on Monday to discuss personal terms for his client. The two parties reportedly reached an agreement, prompting Pep Guardiola's club to table a €30 million bid for the player on Tuesday.
Green says Roma believe that price is short of their valuation, thought to be around €35 million.
Bayern have moved for the defender after the news that Javi Martinez has suffered a serious injury, ruling him out for the majority of the new campaign.
Sky Sport journalist Fabrizio Romano confirmed the German champions' interest in Benatia on Monday, suggesting the bid was more likely around the €25 million mark:
Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently spoke cautiously about acquiring the player when speaking to Sport1.de, per Sky Sports:
We're not going to say anything because, if in doubt, that could only make the player more expensive. If we do do anything on the transfer market, then it will all depend on the quality and the price.
However, Roma are still hopeful of retaining the player for the new season and have entered into talks with Sissoko over the possibility of a new deal being signed.
Enrico Passarella of GianlucaDiMarzio.com says there is an "optimism" coming from the Rome club after director of sport Walter Sabatini met with Benatia's representatives, and that talks are ongoing.
Benatia is considered the rock and foundation at the heart of Roma, and the Serie A team will be desperate to keep hold of him if it is at all possible.
Last season, the defender featured 33 times for his club in the Italian domestic league and also scored five times, per WhoScored.com.
He solidified his reputation in Italy as one of the league's best defenders, leading to the explosion of interest in him far and wide.
United will be bitterly disappointed in missing out on Benatia as he is perfect for their current needs after the exits of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Should Manchester United try and outbid Bayern Munich for Mehdi Benatia?
The Red Devils once again showed defensive weaknesses in their opening game of the Premier League season, as they were humbled at Old Trafford by Swansea, losing the match 2-1.
The attraction of Bayern to players is obvious at present, and the magnetism of working for Guardiola will be too much for many individuals. Benatia will be heavily utilised in Martinez's absence, and he will have a full season to stamp his mark and make a first-team berth his own.