Joao Moutinho wants Nicolas Gaitan to join him at Monaco

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AS Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho wants Manchester United and Liverpool target Nicolas Gaitan to join him at Stade Louis II, believing the Benfica winger is an ideal replacement for James Rodriguez following his £60 million transfer to Real Madrid.

TalkSPORT reports how the Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move away from Estadio da Luz this summer, after attracting admiring glances from a host of top European clubs.

Manchester United are long-term suitors of the 26-year-old talent, but that was prior to the appointment of new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford. It remains to be seen whether their interest remains, but it might prove irrelevant if Gaitan agrees a transfer to the Ligue 1 giants.

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"He [Gaitan] would be a great signing," claimed Moutinho. "He's an excellent player - if he comes he would help us with his quality. If not, we still have a good group."

Liverpool interest

Brendan Rodgers has also been credited with an interest in bringing the player to Anfield, despite having already negotiated a deal for Gaitan's former team-mate Lazar Markovic.

The Liverpool manager has already strengthened his attacking ranks with the additional acquisitions of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can, but could make further reinforcements following the £75 million departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

Benfica open to offers?

Jorge Jesus will be desperate to keep Gaitan in Portugal for one more season at least, but the Primeira Liga champions could be forgiven for selling if they receive a big-money offer.

Leonardo Jardim is of course on the lookout for attacking talent, and has a huge transfer kitty available following Colombian forward Rodriguez's high-profile switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, as well as Manchester United and Liverpool, Monaco could face further competition for Gaitan's signature with Atletico Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg also rumoured to be monitoring the player's situation closely.

The release clause written into Gaitan's current deal at Benfica amounts to €45 million, but so far nobody has agreed to meet that figure for a player that scored six goals and made numerous assists in 36 appearances in all competitions last season.

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