Blues are on the look out for a replacement for David Luiz at the back at Stamford Bridge next season.
Chelsea have now joined the race for in-demand AS Roma centre-back Mehdi Benatia, according to reports in the Daily Express.
The Morocco international has just enjoyed another outstanding campaign at the heart of the Serie A outfit’s back for, with Benatia’s impressive displays going a long way towards helping the Romans secure a second-place finish in the league behind champions Juventus.
And as a result, Premier League champions Manchester City were believed to be keen to try to lure Benatia to Eastlands for next season, with head coach Manuel Pellegrini said to be preparing a big-money offer for the central defender.
However, with the west London club having now offered Roma £18m PLUS front man Romelu Lukaku in exchange for Benatia, with the giant Belgium international understood to be valued at around the £20m mark, City will now have to at least match that bid totaling a whopping £38m in order to be able to compete with their Premier League rivals.
Benatia, 27, has a contract in the Italian capital that runs until June 2018.
SEE ALSO: The 50 best players at the 2014 World Cup.