Manchester United have made an official offer worth £28.6 million for Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi, but their first attempt to sign the Argentine international has been swiftly rejected by a La Liga side with genuine Champions League aspirations.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is still desperate to sign a top centre-back before the transfer window slams shut, continuing to monitor the likes of Otamendi, Mats Hummels and Diego Godin.
Clearly transfer chiefs at Old Trafford think Otamendi is the most attainable of those targets though, with the Daily Star citing claims from Spanish journalist Guillem Balague in a story which reveals that United made their first major move of the transfer window last weekend.
Increased bid required
It's clear to see why United have trumped Arsenal to table for a formal offer for 26-year-old, who would represent an immediate improvement on the options currently available to Van Gaal in central defence.
Otamendi brings international experience to the table and has been tracked by United scouts for years, with a previous foiled bid to snare his signature from Porto last January for just £12m knocked back.
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Will United return before the window closes
A long-term Red Devils target has made a very strong start to life in La Liga, quickly establishing himself as a key figure in an improving Valencia side.
Valencia are unsurprisingly desperate to keep a player they signed just 12 months ago as part of a long-term vision for improvement and are in a very strong position to keep their prized asset.
Los Che have the South American star under contract until 2019 in a deal which includes a £38m release clause, terms which force United's hand if they're serious about signing a physically imposing central defender.
United have proven in the past that they'll back Van Gaal by paying a premium for talent he feels can take the club forward, but it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward and co. think Otamendi is worth considerably more than an initial £26.5m valuation.
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