Argentina and Benfica star on Man Utd transfer shopping list

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The last time Manchester United were linked to a South American central midfielder who had impressed at a World Cup finals, Kleberson was winging his way from Brazil to Manchester in a move that Sir Alex Ferguson would live to regret.

But newly-installed Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal will be hoping for better things if the Reds are successful in bringing their very own World Cup transfer target, Enzo Perez, to Old Trafford.

The 28-year-old won’t have as far to travel, having played at Portuguese club Benfica over the past three years having previously impressed alongside another Man Utd flop in Juan Sebastian Veron at Estudiantes.

And Van Gaal could be set for a closer look at the midfielder this week, should Alejandro Sabella opt to start with the man who came in for Angel Di Maria during La Albiceleste’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the last round.

That game could convince the Dutchman to sanction a move for the midfielder, who is reportedly valued at around £20m by O Glorioso, though the former Bayern Munich manager may have to move fast with La Liga side Valencia rumoured to be closing in on Perez.

Capable of playing in a central, attacking or defensive midfield role and equally adept at fitting in on the right-hand side when required, Perez’s versatility earned him a place in Argentina’s squad for these finals and could be the driving factor behind Van Gaal’s pursuit.

The Dutchman is reportedly keen to sign a utility player to help United become more adaptable, with a key feature of his Oranje success at the World Cup being an ability to effectively change formation and tactics at a whim.

Dirk Kuyt has already been discussed as one potential option but with the Fenerbahce star in his mid-30s and persona non grata among the Manchester United fan base, Perez represents an entirely more palatable prospect for the Red Devils.

But if United are to get their man, they may have to move fast, with Valencia rumoured to be keen on wrapping up the deal before the conclusion of the World Cup.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.