Benatia chooses Tours over the 'bench' life at Chelsea

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Chelsea's star-studded squad appears to have cost them the chance to sign the Marseilles defender Mehdi Benatia after the 19-year-old turned down the Premiership champions and pointed to the failure of Shaun Wright-Phillips to secure a first-team place as one of his reasons.

Benatia chose to move on loan to the Ligue 2 side Tours for a season instead, adding that he did not want to be a substitute at Chelsea. Benatia claims he was offered a three-year contract after training at the club, but argued that Chelsea "don't trust young players", citing Wright-Phillips, who started only 10 League matches last season after a £21m move from Manchester City.

"I could earn a lot of money there, but I would stay on the bench, and living that situation abroad, that is not what I want," Benatia said. "Chelsea are impressive, but I am young and I need to play and compete.

"Marseilles have loaned me in order to improve my skills and to show people I can play football. My first objective is to have a great season with Tours, to help them to avoid relegation."

At the other end of the spectrum, the Chelsea winger Arjen Robben is happy to stay at Stamford Bridge despite being linked with a move to Real Madrid. The Spanish club's new president, Ramon Calderon, promised during his election campaign that he would sign the winger, which infuriated Chelsea.

Now Robben is expecting to play a major part in the Stamford Bridge side's season as they look for a third successive title under Jose Mourinho.

"I think the new players who have come in have a lot of qualities which is great for our team, so I'm really looking forward to playing with all of them," Robben said. "There are also the players who stayed and I think we just have a very good team. I'm just very happy to be involved in such a great team."

Meanwhile, John Terry believes Chelsea have the ability to defend their title despite the changes to their squad. Encouraged by the signings of Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko, the Chelsea captain is anticipating the campaign.

"When you look at the side, we lost some great players but we also added some fantastic players," Terry said. "But we still have to go out there and do the business on the pitch. We have got some massive players - Michael and Sheva are two great signings. Hopefully, Sheva is going to bang in a few goals, and there is Michael as well, with Lamps in midfield, and they could be dominant."

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