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Mehdi Benatia


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Mehdi Benatia


Having already established himself as one of Serie A’s most disciplined defenders, Mehdi Benatia offers Chelsea a defensive steel that they lacks now a days.

The road less travelled can eventually lead you to where you have always wanted to arrive and for Mehdi Benatia it could well become a truism if he ends up in the Premier League.

“I have always been interested in the English which is very aggressive but also at the same time very sporting,” he recently gushed in an interview which suggests that his time in the shop window at Udinese is coming to an end.

The club from Friuli has always had a buy low, sell high policy and the 24-year-old was plucked from the lower reaches of French football at Clermont, having slipped through the net at Marseille where he was a contemporary of Samir Nasri.

So when the defender was linked with some of Europe’s top clubs the Bianconeri have been wringing their hands at cashing in on another shrewd find as early as the winter transfer window if the price were to top the 10million Euro mark.

Having been capped for France at Under-18 level he decided that his youthful promise would be better served by representing the birthplace of his father and switched allegiance to Morocco and the higher profile has since brought full international recognition.

A willingness to knuckle down and adapt has served him well and when he arrived at Udinese in the summer of 2011. His quickness and lean 6ft2in frame were seen to be better employed on the right side of a back three where he was encouraged to get forward with the ball at his feet.

Udinese have only conceded one goal at home on the domestic front.

Since then he has played across the backline and would have no problems playing in the middle of a more traditional back-four where his excellent technique and sure passing could be exploited to the fore. A ball-playing defender he may be but that sugar-coated touch masks a steely determination.

His speed has enabled him to anticipate a challenge rather than fly head-long into a tackle while his strength in the air has paid dividends not only at the back but from set-pieces in attack. Although as yet he may not have got off the mark in Serie A, he found the net three times last season – all of which came from dead-ball situations.

Having turned out against Arsenal in the Champions League preliminary round qualifier, Benatia has subsequently played three Europa League group games and scored a typical defender’s close-range finish in the win over Atletico Madrid.

Valuable European experience is one thing but in Italy where keeping a clean sheet is greeted with as much glee as scoring at the other end, Benatia has really come to prominence in the early part of the campaign. Going into the international break Udinese have only conceded one goal at home on the domestic front and just four in total to make him part of the most water-tight

backline in Europe.

It may have been a team effort but Benatia’s increasingly assured performances have really stood out – and the feeling is that Samir Nasri’s one-time room-mate is finally on the fast lane to success.

Source: Chelsea FC Transfer Speculations

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I watch Udinese games almost every game and i can tell you that he stands out in each game. He is very smooth on the ball in his tackles. Someone said he is not world class, maybe because he has not been hyped or he is not playing for Barca, RM, Milan etc. Please take time to watch him play. He is the guy Chelsea needs.

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  • 11 months later...

10 million euros is a fair price tbh, looks solid in that video and quite fast, so possibly a better option for AVB's favorite high line than Gary Cahill, who imo is extremely overated

LOL at this :)

Anyway this guy would be realy good addition, specialy now since Terry is injured.

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Well Hummels is much too expansive, so is Subotic and Benatia is only 25, Udinese would probably sell him for 15mio max. But there is lot of interest in him and price could rise.

In recent years, Udinese had some fantastic players (Isla, Sanchez, Inler, Handanovic, Benatia, Kwandwo Asamoah)

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You know what would be great?

Recalling Kalas in January to cover for Terry being out. (if possible)

See how he does until the Summer.

If he doesn't do good enough, send him back out on loan, and buy this guy.


(Although Udinese do tend to get a lot of cash for their players!)

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