Brendan Doherty

Arsenal on alert as Medhi Benatia nears Juventus exit

The Gunners have issues in defence and Medhi Benatia needs playing time, will the parties come together in January?

Reports out of Italy say that Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia has run out of patience at Juventus and wants a change of scenery.

The Bianconeri have reportedly set the price tag for the French-born centre back and clubs around Europe are showing interest. Arsenal are among the clubs most closely following the Morocco international.

Benatia has not been settled at the Allianz Stadium for a while and reports claim he even handed in a transfer request recently. A lack of match time has been a pressing concern as the 31-year-old defender has made just six starts across all competitions for Max Allegri’s team.

Calciomercato report that Juventus are willing to listen to offers starting at €20m in the winter transfer window.

Benatia probably expected more of a long-term role at Juventus when Leonardo Bonucci left for AC Milan but the Moroccan made way for him to rejoin Giorgio Chiellini in the centre of defence after one season.

While the search for playing time is pushing the player away from Turin, for their part the Gunners are providing a pull.

Under new manager Unai Emery, Arsenal are displaying more enterprising football but their defending has come under fire this season.

Combinations of Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Rob Holding in the centre of defence have left something to be desired by Arsenal fans and Emery, alike. Available at a reasonable price, Benatia represents top-level experience at a relative bargain for the north London side.

Italian paper Il Corriere dello Sport report that Milan are offering around €15m to Juventus and clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United are expected to show interest in the former Bayern Munich defender, as well.