Medhi Benatia turned down a January offer from Manchester United before joining Al Duhail in Qatar, according to Goal.
They report that Benatia was among United’s targets last month when he left Juventus but elected to move to Qatar because he wanted to bring up his family in a Muslim country.
But given that the Manchester Evening News report that United have now moved away from Jose Mourinho’s preferred approach of targeting short-term defensive options, there are questions to be asked.
Would United really have made a play for a 31-year-old, in light of that, not to mention in the middle of a season after which it’s not clear who the new long-term manager will be?
And it is also pertinent to ask whether the Morocco international would have been the right fit anyway, given that he has now elected to take a move that looks like moving his career towards its twilight.
There is definitely reason to have doubts on both those scores, making it hard to believe that the former Bayern man genuinely snubbed a concrete offer from United last month.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United vision appears to be largely built upon vibrancy and faith in youth, so a short-termist mid-season swoop for a defender out of favour at his club and over 30 wouldn’t make a great deal of sense.
The Manchester Evening News report that United have upped their scouting presence in Serie A and remain keen on three central defensive options currently plying their trade in Italy, all of whom would be better buys than Benatia.