• Transfers: Madrid consider Benatia if…

    (Football Italia) Real Madrid are reportedly ready to come in with an offer for Mehdi Benatia, should Pepe be sold this summer.

    There have been slight suggestions in the Spanish media this summer that Carlo Ancelotti’s side would be willing to cash in on their Portuguese centre-back and bring in a replacement.

    Il Tempo take up on this theory and suggest that a viable candidate to come in would be Roma’s Benatia.

    Whilst talk of an exit has cooled in recent days amid the suggestion that the 27-year-old may be in line for renewal talks at the Olimpico, the Rome publication indicate the club would be open to negotiating his exit for bids of €35m to €40m.

    Benatia and the Giallorossi will meet with Real Madrid in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Dallas as part of pre-season tournament the International Champions Cup.

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  • NT: Morocco to host Qatar and Libya friendlies ahead of 2015 Afcon

    (Goal.com) The Lions of the Atlas will play warm up matches against the Al-Annabi and the Mediterranean Knights in September

    Hosts of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco have been exempted from the qualifying campaign, but the Royal Moroccan Football Federation has scheduled two important friendly matches for their team in early September when the final round of qualifying will kick off.

    On September 3 in Casablanca, Morocco will play Qatar before facing Libya four days later in Marrakech.

    Officials say they will likely play two or three more friendlies before the final tournament.

    The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations will be held from January 17 to February 8 in four Moroccan cities, namely Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier.

    Morocco is hosting the competition for the second time after the 1988 edition, which was won by Cameroon.

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  • Transfers: El Hamdaoui heading back to Holland?

    (Forza Italian Football) Fiorentina outcast Mounir El Hamdaoui looks certain to leave the club this summer with Feyenoord ready to move for the striker.

    El Hamdaoui joined Fiorentina from Ajax in 2012 and went on to make 20 appearances in a disappointing season before he was loaned out to Malaga last summer, but it appears his stay in Italy may finally be coming to an end.

    With seemingly no future for the Moroccan international in Florence, TuttoMercatoWeb report that the striker may return to the Netherlands, where he had a wonderful spell with Ajax before joining Fiorentina, to replace Italian striker Graziano Pelle at Feyenoord.

    Having been born in Rotterdam, a return to the city would appeal to El Hamdaoui but wages may be a problem given Feyenoord’s strict wage structure.

    Any fee Fiorentina receive would be nominal given the player’s erratic form over the past few seasons, but the chance to get the player off the wage bill would certainly appeal to the Viola.

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  • Transfers: Roma consider Benatia renewal

    (Football Italia) Roma are reportedly ready to begin negotiations with Mehdi Benatia on a new contract, cooling talk of his exit.

    The centre-back ended an impressive first season with the Giallorossi by declaring his discontentment at an apparently ‘disrespectful’ offer a new contract, which was backed up by his agent.

    Whilst subsequently linked with the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City, the €30m-rated 27-year-old saw rumours of his departure fuelled when training alone in the first week of pre-season.

    However, on from Rudi Garcia asserting that the defender ‘will play with Roma this season’ come reports that a contract renewal is on the cards.

    Sky Sport Italia suggest that talks over an improved deal could begin once the club return from their pre-season tour of the United States and that it will present Benatia with an increased salary he has been seen as angling for from May.

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  • Transfers: Fulham snap up Adil Chihi following successful trial

    The Dusseldorf-born midfielder has been looking for a new club since leaving Cologne this summer and Craven Cottage boss Felix Magath, who has an extensive knowledge of German football, offered him a trial with the west London club and he impressed enough to earn a 12-month contract, which includes the option of a second year.

    Chihi, 26, made 130 appearances for Cologne, scoring 20 goals, and has featured twice for the Moroccan national team.

    Read more at http://talksport.com/football/fulham-snap-moroccan-winger-following-successful-trial-140723103412#gUHgQ4eUfL7GbDQE.99

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  • Garcia: 'Benatia stays at Roma'

    (Football Italia) Rudi Garcia assured Manchester City and Chelsea target Mehdi Benatia “will play with Roma this season.”

    The Moroccan international defender is in the squad that travelled to Boston for their US tour, which began today.

    “Mehdi is under contract and will play with Roma this season,” said Coach Garcia in his Press conference.

    “Fortunately the President manages to speak to all the players and yesterday he talked to everyone.

    “Tomorrow Benatia will play against Liverpool.”

    The Giallorossi are due to face Liverpool in a friendly at Fenway Park on Wednesday evening, kicking off at 23.30 UK time (22.30 GMT).

    Garcia was also asked about rumours Adem Ljajic is on the market following the arrival of Juan Manuel Iturbe.

    “For me the primary transfer strategy is to keep our most important players and Adem is one of them. He takes a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and I like that.

    “We have to be wary of not putting too much pressure on Iturbe. He can improve and will be important in attack, but it’ll take a while before we see him at his best in our system.”

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  • Transfers: Medhi Benatia staying at Roma

    (ESPNFC) Manchester City target Medhi Benatia has joined Roma on their preseason tour of the U.S. and ruled out a move away from the Italian capital this summer.

    Benatia, 27, has been targeted by clubs in England -- most notably the Premier League champions -- while Barcelona have also been linked with the Morocco international.

    However, after having a prohibitive valuation of 61 million euros placed on him by the Serie A club, he is now resigned to staying at the Olimpico.

    "I'm staying here, definitely," Corriere Dello Sport quotes Benatia as saying to Roma fans as the team departed the city's Fiumicino airport on Monday.

    Benatia signed for Roma from Udinese in 2013 and went on to start all but four Serie A matches for the Giallorossi last term in a campaign that saw them go unbeaten throughout the entire first half of the season.

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Taarabt omitted from pre-season tour

    QPR boss Harry Redknapp has omitted Adel Taarabt from the club's pre-season tour squad and he now looks set to head back to Serie A.

    Redknapp and Taarabt have endured somewhat of a rocky relationship since their time working together at Tottenham.

    The Morocco international was loaned out to Fulham for the first half of last season before joining AC Milan on loan for the second half of the campaign.

    Reports have suggested that the 25-year-old is keen on securing a move to the San Siro on a permanent basis, although it appears the two clubs have so far failed to agree a fee.

    Rafael Benitez's Napoli have expressed an interest in taking him off the R's hands but are yet to make a formal approach for his services.

    QPR are heading to Germany for the latest stage in their pre-season preparations as they look to survive back in the Premier League.

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  • Transfers: Chelsea beating Man Utd and Man City in race for Roma star Mehdi Benatia

    (Express) CHELSEA are favourites to land Roma star Mehdi Benatia despite interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

    The Blues are in the market for a new centre-back after selling David Luiz for a staggering £50million to French champions Paris St-Germain, and with new signing Kurt Zouma set for a loan move this summer, Jose Mourinho is desperate to land an experienced defender.

    Chelsea have already completed the signings of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid respectively, and today agreed a £20million for Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis.

    Despite reports in Italy claiming that the Blues are winning the race for Benatia's signature, Mourinho faces stiff competition from Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford, who is looking to replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand after the pair departed on free transfers.

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  • Transfers: Stoke close to signing Oussama Assaidi from Liverpool in a potential £7million deal

    (Teleghraph) Stoke manager Mark Hughes finally strikes breakthrough in pursuit of Morocco international Oussama Assaidi and could complete the signing before the weekend

    Mark Hughes is close to signing Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi in a deal worth a potential £7million.

    Hughes, the Stoke manager, has finally struck a breakthrough in his pursuit of the Morocco international and could complete the signing before the weekend.

    Stoke had been deterred by Liverpool's strict transfer fee but are close to agreeing a fee which will see them pay an initial £4.5million.

    Hughes had turned to Norwich winger Nathan Redmond after growing frustrated in his attempt to bring Assaidi back to the Britannia Stadium, with the Championship club turning down a £3.5million bid.

    But negotiations over Assaidi have resumed over the past 48 hours and Hughes expects to permanently sign the winger, who impressed on loan last season. Assaidi, 25, will become Stoke's fifth signing of the summer.

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