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 By Ben Gladwell

Mehdi Benatia: I'm staying at Roma

Mehdi Benatia impressed for Roma in Serie A last season.

Roma defender Mehdi Benatia's future remains unclear despite the Chelsea and Manchester United target having ruled out a move away this summer.

Torosidis signs new three-year deal

Benatia, 27, has been attracting interest from both the Blues and United after excelling at the heart of the Giallorossi defence last season.

He was widely regarded as being the best central defender in Serie A, and after being upset by the Eternal City club for reneging on a promise to improve his terms this summer, it was thought he might seek a transfer.

That has not been the case officially, though, and on Wednesday the Morocco international told fans at Roma's summer training camp in Austria to "relax" because he is "staying put."

That has nonetheless failed to quell speculation, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Chelsea have sent a fax requesting to be able to open negotiations with the player, even though manager Jose Mourinho told reporters: "We're not interested. We have [Gary] Cahill, [Branislav] Ivanovic and [Kurt] Zouma."

The Blues could face competition for his services from Premier League rivals United. Sources have told ESPN FC that Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal is keen to draft Benatia in as one of two new central defenders, to fill the voids left by the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer.

With Luke Shaw on Wednesday ruled out for a month due to injury, United are now even shorter on defensive options and a move for Benatia -- valued at over 33 million pounds by Roma -- could be imminent, even in time for the start of the Premier League season against Swansea on Saturday.

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