Arsenal Linked With Mehdi Benatia

Gunners Join Race For Defender

Mehdi Benatia Arsenal transfer
Image: Anton Zaitsev

Arsenal are being linked with a move for Juventus central defender Mehdi Benatia. But they will face competition for his signature from at least two other clubs.

Benatia has never really nailed down a regular first-team spot for Juve since he arrived at the Serie A side from Bayern Munich in a £14million transfer in 2016.

The 31-year-old has started just four Serie A games so far this season. That followed 19 starts and one substitute appearance last season and 14 starts and one appearance off the bench in his debut season for the club 2016-17.

Tuttomercatoweb claims Arsenal are interested. It’s another example of how the Gunners have relaxed their self-imposed rule of not signing players over the age of 30. Thirty-four-year-old full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner arrived on a free transfer from Juventus in the summer. Central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was 30 when he also moved to the Emirates in the summer.

During the Arsene Wenger era the club had a policy of not signing outfield players over the age of 30 and only offering one-year deals to players at the club once they reached that age.

Benatia is also being linked with interest from Manchester United – although the age restriction is expected to be enforced more rigidly at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho was denied new signings over the summer of players who had hit 30 or who were close to that mark.

But Arsenal’s chief competition will come from AC Milan. The rossoneri have already made contact over a possible transfer. Milan are looking to pay around €15million (£13million) for the Morocco international.