Juventus to Reportedly Resist Bids for Medhi Benatia, Daniele Rugani in January

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2018

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 11: Medhi Benatia of Juventus  during the Italian Serie A   match between AC Milan v Juventus at the San Siro on November 11, 2018 in Milan Italy (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Juventus will reportedly resist any offers made for defenders Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani in the January transfer window.

Following the arrival of Leonardo Bonucci in the summer, both players have been linked with a move away from the Bianconeri, with the former typically partnering Giorgio Chiellini at the back. However, according to Romeo Agresti of Goal, the Italian champions want to keep both Benatia and Rugani around.

"Juve hold Rugani in high regard, while Benatia brings important experience to the fold," it's noted. "As a result [of the Bonucci and Chiellini partnership], alternative options have to be patient and accept their role in the squad. The Bianconeri have no intention of parting with anyone considered to be important to Allegri’s plans for 2018-19."

It's added Juventus were looking to open contract talks with both Benatia and Rugani, although there has been little movement over possible extensions.

According to Agresti, Benatia has admirers in the form of AC MilanTuttosport (h/t Sport Witness) also recently reported that Manchester United were one of a number of teams "ready to welcome" Benatia.

As for Rugani, it's said Chelsea and Roma have held an interest in him. According to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia), the player's agent has met with Roma's director of football Monchi and has provisionally said "yes" to a move.

The Morocco international has only turned out five times in Serie A this season, and although he's a dependable option for the Italian champions, manager Massimiliano Allegri clearly favours the Bonucci-Chiellini axis.

He was important for Juventus in their title-winning 2017-18 term, though, and was recently recognised as one of the best African footballers in the world:

BBC News Africa @BBCAfrica

⚡ Mehdi Benatia is our first #BBCAFOTY nominee for 2018! Benatia plays for @juventusfcen and for Morocco’s national team. ⚽🎊l #MedhdiBenatia l #BBCAFOTY l #Morocco 🇲🇦l🎊⚽ https://t.co/ueKS2sFL69

Benatia would potentially make an instant impact at an elite club, having gained experience in Italy, Germany and on the international stage. By contrast, the football world still has a lot to learn about Rugani.

Despite being tipped as a player with massive potential many years ago, he's not been able to cement his place in the Juventus first-team on a regular basis.

Rugani has also been linked with a Juventus exit.
Rugani has also been linked with a Juventus exit.Claudio Villa/Getty Images

He's only started two games for the club this season, with his previous outing coming on October 27 against Empoli. Now 24 years old, there's a danger Rugani has missed key years of development by sitting on the bench in Turin.

However, Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren believes a Benatia exit may present a pathway towards more minutes for the Italy international:

Gianni Verschueren @ReverschPass

If Daniele Rugani signs that rumoured new contract Benatia is as good as gone. And with new UEFA eligibility rules he could fetch a huge fee as a mid-season upgrade somewhere

Having arrived at Juventus from Empoli in 2012, there was so much expected of Rugani, and many would have anticipated him being much further along in his career than he is currently. If his prospects don't improve before the end of the campaign, he'll have a big decision to make about his future.

Benatia, meanwhile, has shown he is still among Europe's best centre-backs, and he would do an excellent short-term job for a number of sides competing for major titles. However, it appears Juventus want his acumen and experience to call upon until the end of the season at least.