Spanish football expert Graham Hunter is expecting Manchester United to launch an attempt to sign Nicolas Otamendi this summer, but warned the Premier League giants the Valencia defender could cost them upwards of £50 million.
The Sky Sports pundit revealed that the Argentina international's future at the Mestalla relies heavily on whether or not Los Che qualify for the Champions League next season.
Hunter explained that successful entry into Europe's elite club competition in 2015/16 will make the Red Devils' task of acquiring the 27-year-old's services even harder.
Nuno Espirito Santo's side currently occupy fourth spot in La Liga - three points clear of Sevilla in fifth place - and look set to book their place in the Champions League next term, meaning the progressive Portuguese coach will be under no pressure to sell any of his star players.
"Manchester United's interest in acquiring Otamendi is well established," said Hunter. "Therefore, I would expect them to try to buy him in the summer.
"If they come in with £50 million then Valencia have a decision to make."
He added: "It is better football sense for Valencia's level to use the good players they have got to earn Champions League revenue.
"Of course if they don't get to the Champions League, then you could say everybody is for sale.
"If Valencia finish fifth, then their financial situation is such that big clubs will be able to pick off their best players."
Louis van Gaal is understood to be in the market for central defensive reinforcements at Old Trafford this summer and has been linked with several high-profile players over the past few months.
Rumours linking the Red Devils with Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels won't go away, but interest in Otamendi has also gathered pace, although it's unclear whether senior officials at the Theatre of Dreams would be prepared to part with such a significant amount of money for a defender.
Otamendi or Hummels?
The South American stopper has spent the majority of his career playing at Velez Sarsfield back in his homeland and FC Porto in Portugal, so doesn't have even one full season of experience playing in an elite European league.
Otamendi has won three Primeira Liga titles and the Europa League in 2011 during his four-year stint at Estadio do Dragao, but his alleged valuation still seems seriously steep, particularly when Manchester United could conceivably secure World Cup winner Hummels for a much more modest fee.
Manchester United fans: Who would you prefer to see Louis van Gaal sign this summer - Mats Hummels or Nicolas Otamendi? Have your say below…
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