Manchester United could finally secure the signature of Nicolas Gaitan this summer after the Benfica midfielder's agent Jose Irribarran confirmed that negotiations are under way regarding a big-money move to Old Trafford.
That's according to the London Evening Standard, who carry quotes from the Argentina international's representative taken from an interview with Portuguese newspaper A Bola, stating that talks with senior Red Devils chiefs have already taken place.
Gaitan has long been linked with a switch to the Theatre of Dreams after attracting initial attention from Sir Alex Ferguson prior to his retirement in 2013, but so far for some unexplained reason a transfer has failed to transpire.
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The 27-year-old was not fancied by Ferguson's successor David Moyes, but is now back on Manchester United's radar following the appointment of Louis van Gaal, who is believed to be keen to add Gaitan to his first-team ranks in time for the start of the 2015/16 campaign.
The former Netherlands head coach has already brought in Dutch forward Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, but is seeking to further strengthen his attacking midfield options in a bid to challenge for the Premier League title next term.
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“There’s a negotiation pending with Manchester United,” confirmed Irribarran. “Everything is possible.
“The player wants everything to go as smoothly as possible, We’re waiting for an answer from the [Benfica] vice-president. I can’t really say anything else.”
Gaitan has been with Benfica for five years after joining the Primeira Liga giants from Boca Juniors back in 2010, but could be about to bring an end to his stay at Estadio da Luz following former manager Jorge Jesus out of the exit door.
Rui Vitoria has taken over from Jesus - who joined local rivals Sporting Lisbon - but it looks increasingly likely he'll have to plan for life without Gaitan as a transfer to the Premier League beckons.
The presence of compatriots and international team-mates Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo should help make the midfielder's transition to life in a new country and culture easier should he secure a long-term contract with Manchester United, who have varying levels of success with the vast array of South American talent they've recruited in recent years.
Red Devils fans will be hoping he fares better than club-record signing Di Maria, who endured a difficult debut campaign in England's top-flight following his £59.7 million move from Real Madrid, although surely Van Gaal won't make the same mistake twice?
Manchester United fans: Do you think Nicolas Gaitan would be a good signing for Louis van Gaal this summer? Or is it a risk recruiting another South American player given the struggles of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao last term? Have your say below...
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