Manchester United could be set for more frustration in the transfer market after reports in Germany suggested Bayern Munich have beaten their former manager Louis van Gaal to the signature of Roma star Mehdi Benatia.
According to Bild, the Bundesliga champions have moved swiftly to find a replacement for Javi Martínez after the former Athletic Bilbao man sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Reports had previously suggested that Benatia was close to a £24m switch to Old Trafford, with Sky Sports News HQ running with the story for most of the weekend, but Bayern have emerged as the new favourites.
Chelsea manager José Mourinho is also believed to have held an interest earlier in the summer but the £27m outlay spent on Cesc Fàbregas makes any move for Benatia seem unlikely.
The Blues boss has been a long-term admirer of the 27-year-old's abilities after attempting to take him to Stamford Bridge during his first spell with the London club.
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The Moroccan opted to remain with Olympique de Marseille, however, after fears of homesickness.
After eventually securing a switch abroad, initially with Udinese, Benatia has proven to be popular with Italian supporters - making 80 appearances for his former employers before moving to Roma.
United boss van Gaal is becoming increasingly aware of his squad's deficiencies after the 2-1 Premier League opening day defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Goals from Ki Sung-yueng and Gylfi Sigurðsson gave Gary Monk's side victory as any optimism which Red Devils fans may have had for the new season burst rather dramatically.
The former Ajax and Barcelona head coach also remains interested in Sporting Lisbon's Argentina international Marcos Rojo and are reportedly willing to make Nani a makeweight in any deal which may be struck between the two parties.
The 24-year-old full-back was forced to apologise to Sporting supporters in an interview on the club’s official television channel on Sunday night for trying to force through the move.
"I was hot-headed and I'm sorry," he said. "I'll be back with the rest of the Sporting squad tomorrow (Monday)."Reuse content