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Reports: Juventus 'closing in' on deal for Bayern Munich defender Medhi Benatia

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

With the official announcement that Martin Cáceres won't be a Juventus player next season, we now know that usual number of five central defenders has been knocked down to four. Being stuck on a quad isn't exactly something we've seen happen come the start of the season, with Juve's usual roster construction at five central defenders.

With one of Juve's long-standing defensive mainstays now on his way out, the need to fill the fifth defender spot is there again. Maybe, just maybe, there's a solid replacement coming in short order.

According to multiple reports out of Italy late Thursday and early Friday, Juventus and Bayern Muncih are closing in a deal that would see former Roma defender Medhi Benatia arrive on a season-long loan with an obligation to buy. You know, the kind of deal where Juve director general Beppe Marotta buys low on a player who has been good in the somewhat recent past and works in a way to make the deal a permanent one after a season or two. Yeah, one of those that can be defined with five simple letters — L.W.O.T.B.

Juventus has displayed interest in the player for a while, now the bianconeri have made steps forward and are closing in on the class of '87 Moroccan defender. Now it's time to negotiate with Bayern, in order to reach the desired solution (loan with obligation to buy). There is intent to close the deal, between loan and obligation to buy the move would cost around 18 million total.

(Source: Gianluca Di Marzio)

As is reportedly part of the deal, our friends at Bavarian Football Works point out that Benatia would likely be taking a pretty hefty pay cut if he were to make his way to Juventus. Seeing as how the deal would likely be constructed with an initial season on loan, it makes a whole lot of sense.

Since moving to Germany two summers ago, Benatia has struggled both with injuries and finding consistent playing time with the fact that Bayern is one of the deepest squads in all of Europe. He appeared in just 22 games in all competitions in the 2015-16 campaign — including the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Juventus.

It's interesting, this move. Benatia is obviously a lot more skilled than what would be your typical fourth or fifth defender. And it's not like Juve are in desperate need for a quality first-choice backup behind Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini because Daniele Rugani exists and is obviously on an upward trajectory based on how he played in the second half of last season. Maybe there's a plan to rotate more next season. I don't know. This is why Max Allegri makes the big bucks and we're sitting here.