Angel di Maria has given the green light for Manchester United to sign his Argentina international teammate Nicolas Gaitan.
This is according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola - and brought to our attention by journalist Jan Hagen - who broke the story earlier on Wednesday that United are on the brink of completing a €30 million deal for the 27-year-old Benfica winger.
It’s understood that the transfer will be finalised after Friday’s Portuguese cup final between Gaitan’s Benfica and Maritimo.
Hagen also revealed that Manchester United have scouted Gaitan, who is also on the radar of Chelsea, on multiple occasions this season.
And it’s understood that the South American winger, widely considered the best wide-man in Portuguese football at present, will leave Benfica this summer after five years at the club regardless of whether or not he signs for United.
United plan to keep Di Maria?
That United have reportedly consulted Di Maria over the signing of Gaitan suggests Louis van Gaal plans to keep the former at Old Trafford despite his difficult debut season with the Red Devils.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain are keen to take Di Maria off United’s hands, but Van Gaal may feel that the former Real Madrid star still has a big role to play next season.
Gaitan replaced Di Maria at Benfica back in 2010 - but it seems Van Gaal will attempt to accommodate both players in his starting line-up next season.
Gaitan is most effective from the left flank, the position Ashley Young has flourished in this season.
But with Manchester United back in the Champions League - provided they advance through the qualifying round in August - Van Gaal will require a top-level winger to ease the burden on the revitalised English winger.
United have already signed Memphis Depay, the 21-year-old Dutch winger, but his favoured position is out on the right flank. Van Gaal might also be tempted to see what the £25 million summer signing can do in a central position upfront.
Januzaj or Mata to make way?
Gaitan’s arrival, therefore, is likely to be bad news for either Adnan Januzaj or Juan Mata.
Januzaj is keen to stay at Old Trafford and force his way back into the first team following an unconvincing second season as a professional, while Mata’s inconsistency and lack of physicality might still be a concern for Van Gaal despite the Spanish playmaker’s impressive form towards the end of this season.
Manchester United fans: is Nicolas Gaitan a good signing for your team? Who should he replace in the starting line-up? Have your say in the comments below!
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