Higginbottom opens up on Solskjaer as Benatia sends transfer message to Man United and Chelsea

Mehdi Benatia has revealed why he rejected the opportunity to sign for Chelsea or Manchester United in the January window.

With both United and Chelsea reportedly eyeing up a number of defenders during the transfer window, a move for Benatia became a high priority after he asked to leave Italian Champions Juventus towards the end of the transfer window.

It was claimed that both United and Chelsea had made contact with the Italians about a bargain transfer deal, believing they could get the Defender for a cut-priced after the Italians quickly signed his replacement.

However, in a shock move, the 31-year-old joined Qatari side Al-Duhail in the January transfer window in an €8 million (£7m) deal, which stunned many in football considering Benatia is still one of the best in Europe.

But the defender insists the decision over his transfer was due to personal reasons, telling the TMW website: ‘I faced criticism from the Moroccan sports critics after moving to Doha but i want everyone to respect my decision because it was the best for me and for my family.

‘I want my kids to grow up in Islamic atmosphere, and I could go to clubs in the UAE or Saudi Arabia but I preferred to be with Al Duhail and there are a lot of Moroccan players who play in the national team and are with the Gulf clubs.

‘Coach Herve Renard knows me well and if he sees that I do not deserve to be with the national team, I will respect this decision.’

Meanwhile, Danny Higginbotham says Manchester United are now playing to their strengths thanks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Since becoming boss of United after Jose Mourinho got the sack, the former Red Devils striker has gone on to win nine of his opening ten matches and has transformed United back into one of the most dangerous sides in the Premier League.

“You’ve got to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unbelievable credit,” Higginbotham told Sky Sports News.

“Everything he touches turns to gold.

“I’ve heard a number of people saying anybody could have gone in and done that. No, they couldn’t, I’m sorry but they couldn’t. It doesn’t work like that.

“What he’s done is he’s gone in there and looked at the team. What you see with the top managers and we see it all around world football, play your best players in their best positions and build a team around them in order to get the best out of them.”

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