Manchester United have received a huge boost in their alleged pursuit of Enzo Perez after Valencia pulled out of the race to sign the Benfica midfielder.
TalkSPORT reports that the Red Devils' rival suitors are unable to meet the Portuguese club's £25 million valuation of the Argentina international and so have been forced to withdraw from negotiations ahead of the January transfer window.
The 28-year-old has been in impressive form at Estadio da Luz this season, prompting admiring glances from a number of top European clubs, though it's believed that Manchester United are now the clear favourites to secure the South American's signature.
Louis van Gaal is keen to strengthen his midfield ranks at Old Trafford at the turn of the year and has been heavily linked with a move for his compatriot Kevin Strootman, after the Dutchman made his long-awaited return from a cruciate knee ligament injury last month.
However, privately the Red Devils boss remains unconvinced about the AS Roma star's fitness, and sources close to the manager say that he feels Perez could adapt to the Premier League much quicker.
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That is exactly what Manchester United need as they look to maintain their recent run of impressive form which has produced five consecutive victories, the latest of which came in the form of a 2-1 win against Southampton at St Mary's last night.
With a busy run of Christmas fixtures fast approaching, and the club's current injury crisis showing no signs of slowing down, Van Gaal will be eager to keep the Red Devils' Champions League qualification hopes on track, and that could mean making one or two additions during the mid-season window.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has played down suggestions that Manchester United will be busy in the transfer market in January, but don't let that fool you as Spanish publication Superdeporte suggests the English giants would love to bring Perez to Old Trafford.
It was Valencia scouts that actually watched Perez during Benfica's 3-0 win over Belenenses at the weekend, but after being priced out of a move Manchester United are now in pole position to land him.