Benfica attacking midfielder Nicolas Gaitan is considering offers from Manchester United and AS Monaco, it has emerged. The 26-year-old could leave the Portuguese giants before the summer transfer window closes on September 1.
This is according to reports in Portugal - and brought to our attention by the Express - which claim that Gaitan could join the long list of players who have departed the Estadio da Luz within the next 12 days.
United have long-standing interest in Gaitan
Manchester United have a long-standing interest in Argentina international Gaitan, stretching back to when Sir Alex Ferguson occupied the Old Trafford hot seat.
The former Boca Juniors star has been with Benfica for four years now and, according to the same reports, is pushing hard to receive a pay rise from his current employers.
Gaitan: Prepared to leave Benfica
But in an interview earlier this year, Gaitan revealed that he would consider the possibility of leaving Benfica if it eased the Eagles’ cash crisis.
"At the moment I am totally focussed on playing for Benfica since I have a contract with them,” he told reporters. "But I wouldn't mind playing in a different league and, more importantly, to put the club first to help with their serious problems.
"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."
Watch: Gaitan in action
United reluctant to pay £35.6m
However, in order to secure the 26-year-old’s services, Manchester United or AS Monaco will probably need to trigger his £35.6 million release clause.
Neither club are willing to match that fee, though, and negotiations could reach a stalemate unless either Benfica prepare to lower their asking price, or one of the interested clubs stumps up the cash.
Liverpool also keen
Last month it was reported that United’s fierce rivals Liverpool were in talks with the South American, who can play on either flank or behind a central striker, but the Reds appear to be preoccupied with signing a world-class replacement for Luis Suarez instead.
AS Monaco have money to spend after selling James Rodriguez to Real Madrid for a fee in excess of £60 million earlier this summer, while United boss Louis van Gaal is desperate to strengthen his squad after losing to Swansea City on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
United confirmed on Tuesday night that a deal has been agreed to sign Gaitan’s compatriot Marcos Rojo, which may further entice the Benfica star to seriously consider United’s tempting offer.