Bayern Munich’s new defender Mehdi Benatia has revealed he is suffering a case of sour grapes towards his former club AS Roma, and said he snubbed approaches by Chelsea and Manchester City in favour of a move to the “cold” city of Munich.
Morocco international star Benatia had been subject to speculation of a tug of war during the summer transfer window, with big-money clubs including Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City all understood to have been competing to sign him from Serie A side Roma.
The 27-year-old completed a £20m five-year deal with Bayern last month and said he opted for the switch to the Bundesliga side owing to his love of the “cold” city of Munich.
“I was happy to join Bayern Munich,” he told Kicker. “I like Munich even if it’s a bit cold here.”
Benatia admitted his nose was put out of joint by his old club Roma, explaining how they had informed him they wished to keep him but needed to raise funds, which is why they chose to sell him in the summer transfer window.
“I discussed my future with Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini,” he said. “He told me that the club wanted to hold on to me, but that they needed the money from a sale. That annoyed me, because I initially wanted to stay put.”
The defender, who was prime target of Bayern boss Pep Guardiola following the German club’s sale of centre-back Javi Martinez, added substance to this summer’s rumours that had linked him to a number of European title-contenders by confirming which other heavyweights had made a play for him.
“Manchester City and Chelsea wanted me, while there were also approaches from Real Madrid and Barcelona.”