Enzo Perez set for Valencia medical on December 29

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Manchester United's hopes of signing Benfica midfielder Enzo Perez have been dealt a blow following reports the Argentina international is set for a surprise medical with Valencia.

According to Spanish publication SuperDeporte, the 28-year-old is expected to undergo tests on December 29th with a view to formally completing his transfer in time to face Real Madrid in La Liga on the 4th of January.

Louis van Gaal will be forced to turn his attention to alternative midfield targets, with the £25 million-rated star's prospective switch to Old Trafford now seemingly out of the question.

Kevin Strootman is another name thought to be on the Red Devils' January shortlist, although defensive reinforcements are perhaps a more pressing issue for a side that would've leaked far more goals had it not been for the heroics of goalkeeper David De Gea this season.

With a number of injury problems leaving Manchester United's backline threadbare at times in 2014/15, perhaps the failure to land Perez is a blessing in disguise - with more money now available to address other areas of the squad.

Perez's planned move to the Mestalla comes as a bit of a shock, particularly after the Daily Star reported earlier this month that Nuno Espirito Santo had pulled out of the race for his signature, leaving Manchester United with the chance to land the South American talent unchallenged.

The midfield schemer has been in sublime form at Estadio da Luz this season, and has been an instrumental figure in Benfica's climb to the top of the Primeira Liga, where they currently hold a six-point advantage over FC Porto.

Jorge Jesus wants to keep Perez for the remainder of the season, but is well aware that the Portuguese club are willing to cash-in if one of the player's suitors meet their valuation.

The former Estudiantes star has established himself as a firm fans favourite since arriving at the club in 2011, and Benfica supporters will be sad to see him depart in the same manner that other high-profile players have left for bigger, more illustrious European sides.

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