Manchester United are close to securing a £50 million deal for Benfica duo Enzo Perez and Nicolas Gaitan - international teammates of Argentina star Angel di Maria.
This latest development comes courtesy of the Express, who cite Portuguese newspaper A Bola as reporting that United scouts watched the South American duo during Benfica’s 2-1 defeat to Braga on Thursday night.
United boss Louis van Gaal, in an attempt to bolster his squad for the second half of the season, is now reportedly preparing a massive offer for the two stars of Portuguese football.
The Red Devils will need to pay £23 million to trigger the release clause of Perez, who United were strongly linked with during the summer transfer window, while Gaitan would command a transfer fee in the region of £27 million.
Gaitan was linked with a move to Old Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge of Manchester United and, incidentally, was the player Benfica signed to replace Di Maria in 2010.
While Gaitan may not have scaled quite the same heights as Di Maria during his four years at the Estádio da Luz, the 26-year-old has still been a fine player for the Portuguese outfit following his move from Boca Juniors.
Perez, meanwhile, is a less spectacular player than his teammate but has become a regular for club and country thanks to his ability to control and dominate in central midfield.
There were fears that it wouldn’t work out for Perez in Europe - he was loaned back to Estudiantes in 2012 - but over the past couple of seasons the 28-year-old has proved his class. He was also a runner-up at the World Cup finals in Brazil earlier this year, alongside Di Maria.
While Perez’s potential arrival is unlikely to result in any of Manchester United’s current batch of midfielders leaving Old Trafford in January - with the exception of Anderson - the acquisition of winger Gaitan could have consequences for the future of Adnan Januzaj.
The Belgium international, who was handed Manchester United’s coveted number 11 shirt in the summer, is wanted by a host of top European clubs and is likely to be loaned out by Van Gaal when the transfer window re-opens in less than two weeks’ time.