Manchester United have made a bid for Benfica attacking midfielder Nicolas Gaitan, but may need to raise their offer in order to sign the Argentina international before the transfer window closes on September 1.
Portuguese newspaper Record do not specify the exact size of the offer, but it’s reported that United have submitted a higher bid than both AS Monaco and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
However, it’s also claimed that Manchester United’s offer falls short of Benfica’s €45 million (£36 million) asking price. The Portuguese club are not prepared to sell their prized asset unless one of the interest clubs triggers the player’s release clause.
Gaitan considering Manchester United offer
It was reported earlier this week that Gaitan was in the process of considering two offers: one from Manchester United, and another from Monaco.
The 26-year-old admitted earlier this year that he would be prepared to leave the Estadio da Luz if it eased the Eagles’ cash crisis. However, Benfica have already offloaded several players this summer and are keen to retain the services of Gaitan, who played an instrumental role in the club’s success last season.
Watch: Nico Gaitan in action
United reluctant to meet asking price
United are reluctant to meet Benfica’s asking price, and negotiations appear to headed towards a stalemate unless the latter lower their demands. Whether this happens or not could depend on Gaitan himself - although the South American does not appear to be in any great rush to leave his current employers.
But, at the age of 26, Gaitan may feel this could potentially be his final chance to secure a big-money move to one of Europe’s top leagues.
Manchester United have a long-standing interest in the player - stretching back to when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge at Old Trafford - and have put a big offer down on the table in an attempt to lure him to England.
Competition from Liverpool
The Red Devils may face additional competition for Gaitan’s signature from Liverpool, who reportedly entered into talks with the South American last month, but the Merseyside club’s interest has significantly cooled over the past few weeks.
Brendan Rodgers has already secured the services of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic this summer, and is now on the brink of securing a £16 million deal for AC Milan’s revered striker Mario Balotelli.
Whether Gaitan is prepared to play for a club not competing in the Champions League is also unclear at this stage.
Benfica are competing in this season’s premier European club competition - as are Liverpool, AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid - but United, having finished last season’s Premier League campaign in seventh place, missed out on European football altogether.