Roma are trying to force Manchester City’s hand by setting a 21 July deadline for the sale of Mehdi Benatia, the central defender who is the Premier League champions’ second choice behind Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.

While Roma want around £30m for Moroccan international Benatia, 27, City continue to hold out hopes of signing Mangala despite the France defender twice turning down the opportunity to force the move through.

In January and at the end of last season Mangala, 23, could have pushed for the transfer but instead wanted to wait until after the World Cup. He was also quoted saying he preferred a move to Chelsea while telling friends Manchester United were higher than City on his list of destinations.

Despite this City still believe they can land Mangala, who would cost up to £35m, which is frustrating Roma.

They have therefore set the 21 July deadline, the day both the Italian club and City start their pre-season tours.

City also believe that Samir Nasri will sign his new contract this week.