Real Madrid have given up hope of signing Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi because they believe Manchester United have already agreed a deal, according to The Mirror.
Citing reports in Spain, the story claims that new manager Rafa Benitez is ready to abandon the club's pursuit of the centre-back in favour of chasing Benfica's Ezequiel Garay.
Otamendi was seen as the perfect man to replace Sergio Ramos, who has also emerged as a target for Manchester United this summer.
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Louis van Gaal is now chasing both Otamendi and the Spain international in a bid to revamp his defensive line ahead of next season. Real Madrid are of the impression that a deal for the Argentine is already in place.
That could mean that the Red Devils have agreed to fork over the reported €50 million that Valencia were demanding. The fee was thought to be enough to meet a release clause in Otamendi's contract and Valencia were unwilling to accept anything less.
As was anticipated, Manchester United are throwing money this way and that in an attempt to buy a squad capable of winning the Premier League. It appears their next stop, after apparently agreeing a deal for Otamendi, was Southampton.
According to The Mail, the Red Devils sent an official on the 227 mile journey to St Mary's in a club car (probably a Chevrolet) to reopen talks over a deal for Morgan Schneiderlin.
Talks had stalled after the Saints rejected a £20m bid last week, but in an effort to push through a deal before Manchester United leave on their pre-season tour of North America on Monday, they are ready to make a better offer.
Di Maria deal
How can Manchester United afford all these transfers? Most of the money is coming from their plethora of commercial partners, including the incredible £75m-a-year deal with Adidas and their £53m-a-year deal with Chevrolet. But they are also reportedly ready to raise significant funds by selling Angel di Maria.
The Argentine has had a torrid time since arriving from Real Madrid last summer and looks ready to quit just one year after becoming Britain's most expensive footballer.
Le Parisien has claimed that Di Maria has already agreed a contract with Paris Saint Germain with the Ligue 1 champions ready to pay €60m to sign him. With the Euro exchange rate tumbling fast because of the Greek debt crisis, it is a deal Manchester United should push through fast. Currently €60m will equate to £43m.