Suarez texted Liverpool boss Rodgers before Southampton clash


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Zanzi blasts Benatia rumours: Mehdi's a Roma player

The Giallorossi have been upset by reports that they are set to lose the Morocco international, who is being courted by Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Chelsea


Roma CEO Italo Zanzi has rubbished rumours that Mehdi Benatia is on the verge of leaving the Stadio Olimpico.

The Morocco international has been linked with a move away from the Italian capital all summer long, with both Chelsea and Manchester United said to be keen on signing the centre-half before the close of the transfer window.

However, it is now being reported that representatives from Bayern Munich are now in Rome to wrap up a deal for the 27-year-old, having been forced to step up their pursuit for another defender due to the knee injury sustained by Javi Martinez in Wednesday’s DFL-Supercup loss to Borussia Dortmund.

Zanzi, though, says there is no truth in the rumours that Benatia is bound for the exit door at the Olimpico.

“Mehdi is our player,” the chief executive told Corriere dello Sport. “According to some media sources he had already been sold, but instead he is training with us in a very professional manner.

“It’s a shame about all these rumours. He is a great person and is behaving in the best possible way.

“The transfer market is dynamic and until September 1 we will evaluate every opportunity and ensure we are ready [for the new season].”

Benatia joined Roma from Udinese last summer and was one of the key players in last season’s surprise second-place finish in Serie A.

Luis Enrique: Messi will not be moved to accomodate Suarez

It was that the Argentine might be asked to play deeper to allow the Uruguayan to lead the line, but the coach is unwilling to place any restrictions upon his No.10


Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has revealed that he afford Lionel Messi the freedom to play where he pleases this season.

Speculation has been rife ahead of the 2014-15 campaign that the new Blaugrana coach will ask his No.10 to accept a more withdrawn attacking role this term – as the Argentina international did during this summer’s World Cup – so as to allow summer signing Luis Suarez to play in his preferred position of centre-forward.

However, Luis Enrique has now confirmed that Barca’s attack will once again be based around Messi.

“Leo has so many options that we can’t close off any to him,” the former Spain international told reporters on Sunday. “He will have total freedom to move in attacking situations.

“He is the best in the world, without a doubt, and we adapt to his mobility.”

Luis Enrique also refused to confirm whether he intends to primarily employ the versatile Javier Mascherano as a centre-half or in front of the back four this season.

“I love him as a defender and a midfield pivot,” the coach enthused. “We’ll see him in both positions.”

Luis Enrique added that Mascherano could feature in Monday’s friendly against Mexican outfit Club Leon, but that neither Messi nor Neymar will feature.

“We’re not at 100 per cent, which is no surprise at this stage,” the Barca boss stated. “But the squad have trained harder than I expected.

“They have made sacrifices and I am 100 per cent optimistic. The fans will like what they see [on Monday].”

AC Milan are chasing Grenier, claims agent

The midfielder is a target for three clubs – including the Rossoneri – but is in no hurry to force an exit from Lyon, according to his representative


Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Clement Grenier is a transfer target for AC Milan, according to the player’s agent.

Grenier has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this year, with Arsenal credited with an interest before Newcastle United emerged as unlikely contenders for his signature.

The France international fuelled speculation that he wanted to quit Lyon when he missed a training session at the start of August, although he later insisted that talk of a “controversy” was blown out of proportion.

His representative, Frederic Guerra, has since claimed that Milan and two unnamed clubs are still keen on signing the 23-year-old, though he made it clear Grenier would not aim to force an exit from Stade Gerland.

“We will wait and see, as the transfer window is still open. There are three interested clubs, including Milan,” he told Foot Mercato.

“I have been in contact with the Rossoneri, as he is a player who is of interest to them.

“In any case, Clement isn’t determined to leave Lyon at all costs.”

Grenier has a contract until June 2016 with Lyon.