Manchester United may have now lost out to Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title, but they seem to have gained the advantage in another battle – the contest to sign Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan.
Gaitan has been on the shortlist of Sir Alex Ferguson for much of the season, but especially since starring against Manchester United in the group stages of the Champions League earlier in the campaign.
There have been many rumours already relating to progress between the two parties, with Gaitan reportedly having a €38m release clause stipulated in his current contract.
It is unlikely that Manchester United would pay this much outright, but previous rumours have indicated that Fabio and Federico Macheda would be available to be supplemented as part of the deal.
However, up until now, the Argentine midfielder has kept his cards close to his chest, with PSG, Inter Milan and Manchester City also known to be keeping tabs on developments.
Yet this has now changed, with Gaitan’s agent Jose Ibarren indicating that the Benfica star would almost certainly struggle to turn down a move to Old Trafford.
Ibarren said: “Nicolas likes Manchester United a lot. He would like to play for Manchester United. If there is an offer for him, Nicolas would be happy to listen and negotiate.”
Gaitan would prove a massive coup for Manchester United, as the central midfield area is the main position where the club have most struggled this season.
Michael Carrick has enjoyed his best season for a while, but Sir Alex will not want to be relying on Paul Scholes for another season to play alongside him for the majority of games.
Tom Cleverley is regaining fitness and the only real youngster coming through in the position, but his regular injury troubles may be a slight concern.
Gaitan is of an optimum age at 24 and arguably provides that extra bit of attacking creativity and thrust that has been lacking at times in the current season.