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As per a report from Italian outlet Premium Sport, Arsenal have made contact with Juventus over stopper Medhi Benatia.
Benatia, a 31-year-old central defender, has been on the books of Juve since 2016, with his initial one-year loan deal from Bayern Munich having been made permanent by the Bianconeri for 17 million Euro last summer.
After sitting behind the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli in the central defensive pecking order in Turin during his debut season with Juve, Benatia stepped up in a major way this past season following Bonucci’s departure for AC Milan.
The Moroccan international, who captained his country at this summer’s World Cup, established himself as Max Allegri’s clear first-choice option to partner Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of the Old Lady’s backline, with Benatia having returned to his superb best in the process, playing a crucial role in the club’s domestic double and run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The African stopper even managed to find the net twice during the Coppa Italia final between the Bianconeri and Milan.
On the move?
However, somewhat surprisingly, despite his brilliance over the last 10 months, Benatia has been heavily linked with a summer departure from the Allianz Stadium over recent weeks, amid rumours that the former Udinese man has not been seeing eye-to-eye with manager Allegri of late.
Reports in Italy have even gone as far as to claim that Juve are already on the lookout for Benatia’s replacement, with the likes of Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Matthijs De Ligt and Stefan Savic having all been named as targets for the Serie A champions.
To this point, the club most persistently touted as a potential destination for the stopper have been Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, where Benatia could reunite with former boss Rudi Garcia.
However, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal have also been named as suitors of the Bianconeri star, with the aforementioned report from Premium Sport this morning claiming that the Gunners in fact made a recent approach to Juventus for Benatia.
The veteran, for his part, though, last night hinted that his immediate future could yet lie in Turin, with Benatia having had the following to say during a post-match interview following Morocco’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Spain:
‘I’ve always said the same thing: I’m very happy with Juve, I’ve been part of this group for 2 years. I really feel at home in Turin & I have 2 years on my contract. I’ll talk to the club to find out what they want to do but when you’re at this club you can only be happy.’