Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur target Nicolas Gaitan has opened the door to a possible summer move from Benfica.
The 26-year-old has also been linked with a move to Zenit St Petersburg - managed by former Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas - and it appears he’s interested in leaving the Portuguese top flight behind.
"At the moment I am totally focussed on playing for Benfica since I have a contract with them. But I wouldn't mind playing in a different league and, more importantly, to put the club first to help with their serious problems,” he said, according to The Daily Express.
"Now I am talking about a purely hypothetical situation but if there is a serious formal proposal that will suit the club then I will explore all options.”
The player’s agent, Jose Iribarren, has also fuelled the fire over a potential exit from the Estadio da Luz, admitting that his client would ‘carefully consider’ any offer that came their way.
"We've had many conversations about Gaitan in recent years but at the moment he is a Benfica player and only the club can make a decision on whether to release the player or not,” he said, according to the same paper report.
"If a potential buyer makes an offer that interests Benfica, we will carefully consider it.”
The comments come just a week after Gaitan said he did not want to leave his current club - as he didn’t want to leave Boca Juniors before signing for the Primeira Liga champions.
That appears to have quickly changed however, and now Manchester United must consider whether to pursue the six-cap Argentine international.
Louis van Gaal will need to spend big to bring the attacking midfielder to Old Trafford however, with a £36million minimum fee release clause standing in the way of the Red Devils.
Manchester United are short of a creative midfielder, despite the arrival of Juan Mata under David Moyes in January, and Gaitan is a name that has been mentioned alongside the former champions in the past.
But, at the aforementioned price, the Red Devils must surely be able to find a better alternative during the transfer window.
The same is true of Tottenham Hotspur, who would need to break their club transfer record to bring the player to White Hart Lane. Whilst Gaitan is a compatriot of Mauricio Pochettino, there is little else to suggest that he’s interested in making the playmaker his first major signing as Spurs boss.
And, with creative midfielders like Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sigurdsson already among the Tottenham Hotspur ranks, the new manager would be wise to spend Daniel Levy’s cash elsewhere when the transfer window opens.
Whilst there is little doubt with regards to Gaitan’s ability, his release clause basically prices him out of a move, and unless Benfica are willing to negotiate a lower fee, it’s unlikely that Premier League clubs will look to pursue the player.
There is little doubt about his ability, but the player’s comments may also be a red flag for clubs looking to but a dependable player rather than one who is happy to talk-up a potential transfer.