Official: Bayern Munich to sign Benatia

The Bundesliga champions have reached an agreement with Roma to bring the Morocco international to Germany on a five-year deal

Bayern Munich have announced they have reached an agreement with Roma for the signing of centre-back Mehdi Benatia.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a possible switch to the Allianz Arena for several weeks, with reports over a potential move gathering pace following the injury suffered by Javi Martinez.

Bayern have now confirmed that a deal has been agreed to sign the player for an undisclosed fee from the Serie A giants, with Benatia set to travel to Munich later this week to complete a medical and finalise personal terms.

The Morocco international is poised to sign a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions.

Benatia had attracted the interest of several European giants following his impressive performances for Roma last season after his move from Udinese.

Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United were linked with €35 million bids for the player but concrete interest from England failed to materialise, allowing Bayern to steal a march in the race for his signature.

The Bavarians were forced to redouble their efforts to bolster their defensive options after Spain international Martinez suffered a cruciate ligament tear in the DFL-Supercup loss to Borussia Dortmund, and head coach Pep Guardiola has opted to bring in the experienced Serie A-stopper.

Roma are poised to sign Greece international Kostas Manolas as a replacement for Benatia.

Bayern should sign Benatia, says Hitzfeld

The ex-Switzerland boss feels the reigning champions should act now and try and lure the centre-back to the Allianz Arena

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has urged the Bundesliga champions to sign Mehdi Benatia from Roma, saying the centre-back would prove to be a valuable addition.

The Bavarians are in the market for defensive reinforcements following Javi Martinez’s serious knee injury, which rules him out of action until at least the new year, and have been linked with a number of centre-backs in recent weeks.

Benatia supposedly tops their wish-list, though, and Hitzfeld has told Bayern to act now before it’s too late.

“Benatia is the captain of Morocco’s national team and he has a lot of quality,” Hitzfeld told Sky90.

“In the end, it’s all about whether he can help Bayern forward.

“Bayern need quality and should act now.”

The 27-year-old has a contract with Roma until June 2018 and an offer in the region of €30 million could be needed to lure him away from the Serie A outfit.

Benatia joined Roma from Udinese in the summer of 2013 and previously wore the jerseys of Clermont, Lorient, Tours and Olympique de Marseille.

Iturraspe: Bayern Munich interest is just rumour

The midfielder says he is fully focused on “fighting to the death” in the Champions League playoff against Napoli and will not be distracted by the Germans’ reported interest

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe insists talk of a possible move to Bayern Munich is simply rumour at this stage.

Reports have emerged in Spain that Pep Guardiola is considering a move for the 25-year-old after the long-term knee injury suffered by Javi Martinez, as well as the persistent fitness problems affecting Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara.

Iturraspe, however, says is only interested in the second leg of the Champions League playoff against Napoli on Wednesday.

“Now the rumours are coming out, but I’m just thinking of taking the opportunity here that, a few years ago, I never thought of,” he told reporters.

“It’s a game of great expectation, we have to fight to the death and show that the result is a good one.

“They’re going to play well. Their game is based on counterattacks. We know we have to be on the offensive, to control the game and create chances.”

Athletic take a 1-1 draw back to the San Mames this week and Iturraspe believes the revamped stadium deserves the chance to stage Europe’s greatest games.

“The stadium remains spectacular. We’re looking forward to seeing if we can give it Champions League football,” he said.

Guardiola will lead Bayern to more success, says Hitzfeld

The ex-Switzerland boss is confident that the Spaniard is the right man for the Bundesliga champions and expects more success in the future

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has little doubt that Pep Guardiola will guide the Bavarians to more success in the years to come.

The 43-year-old guided Bayern to the domestic double in his first season in charge, yet also received his fair share of criticism for his treatment of players such as Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic.

Nevertheless, Hitzfeld is confident the ex-Barcelona coach is the right man for Bayern.

“I reckon Guardiola will stay at Bayern for a few more years and I have no doubt about it that the club will continue to be successful with Guardiola at the helm,” Hitzfeld told Kicker.

“Bayern said that they will never fire Guardiola in an attempt to make it clear that his position is stable and that is a good thing. It shows that they are 100 per cent satisfied with Guardiola.

“Success always helps strengthen a coach’s position. But I get the feeling Bayern are on the same page as Guardiola anyway.

“Bayern need a strong coach like Guardiola. Although I get the feeling that he’s open to the opinion of others as well.”

The Bavarians started the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign with a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg on Friday.

Reus will play for Dortmund for a long time, says Klopp

The BVB coach is optimistic about the attacker’s future at the club, irrespective of rumours linking him with a transfer

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is confident that the Bundesliga giants will be able to hold on to Marco Reus amid interest from Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

The Germany international has a contract with BVB until the summer of 2017, but he has a clause in his existing deal that allows him to leave the club for a set fee of €35 million at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

Dortmund are keen for Reus to sign a new and improved deal without a buyout clause, but talks over a contract extension have so far been unfruitful.

Nevertheless, Klopp remains optimistic over the 25-year-old’s future at the club.

“I have a very good feeling about the Marco Reus situation,” Klopp was quoted as saying by Bild.

“He will continue to play for Dortmund for a long time.”

Reus came through the ranks of the BVB youth academy, but left the club for Rot Weiss Ahlen in 2006. The versatile attacker also wore the Borussia Monchengladbach jersey before returning to Dortmund in 2012. He has since made close to 100 appearances in all competitions for the Signal Iduna Park side.