Manchester United’s interest in Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan is not new. The Red Devils were long linked with a move and were even believed to be close to signing the 23-year old. However, reports have emerged in the Daily Mirror that have now touted Manchester City to pip their local rivals to the player’s signature.
The said daily suggests that the Citizens could come in with a massive bid of £35m in the summer and have even established contact with Benfica. United may well be second favourites now, especially since they will find it hard to match City financially. In fact the said daily claims that Sir Alex Ferguson will be given only £30m to spend in the summer and that amount will be £5m short of the player’s release clause. Moreover, another problem for United will the player’s wages, with City having a far superior wage structure.
Gaitan’s agent, Jose Irribaran, has so far played down talks of any move and was quoted by Soccernet last month as saying, “I think any team in the world would like to have Gaitan. However, at this moment neither side has been in contact. Gaitan is thinking only of Benfica and not the rumours in the papers. His objective is to play and to develop as a player. The footballer is happy at the club and wants to win titles in Benfica. He’s content in Portugal and that is very important to how he performs on the field.”
However, •Gaitan will certainly move in the summer as Benfica have revealed that they need to sell players in order to generate funds for the club. Club president Luis Filipe Vieira was even quoted by the Daily Mirror a few days back as saying, “The sale of players is the priority for Benfica but only if it is helping the club. Our aim is to break even and make around €50m in the summer through sales.”
Looking at the two Manchester clubs, one can easily see that the need for a midfielder is more at Old Trafford than at the Etihad. United have managed to cope this season due to the return of Paul Scholes from retirement and will need a more long term replacement for next season. However, with City too joining the race it will be interesting to see what transpires in the summer.
Name: Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán
Age: 23 years.
Club Appearances this season: 22
Goals this season: 1
Assists this season: 10