Manchester United are emerging as front-runners in the race to sign 26-year-old Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan. Manchester United seem to want to shore up their attack with the addition of the Argentinian. Gaitan played as an outside midfielder for Benfica in a 4-3-3 formation, even though he is listed as an attacking midfielder. He could be a potential replacement for Nani, who has been rumored to be departing Old Trafford in this summer.
Gaitan was linked to United in the past, but a potential deal involving him, Frederico Macheda, and Fabio in 2012 fell through the cracks. Despite this, United have renewed their interest in the Argentinian playmaker. Incoming United manager Louis Van Gaal has reportedly been given £200 million to spend during this transfer window, and would not hesitate to spend some of it on the midfielder. Reportedly, Gaitan would cost around £15 million of that supply.
Portuguese newspaper A Bola has reported that Manchester United may offer the Portuguese striker Bebe as an addition to the deal as well. Bebe wouldn’t be a huge loss for the Red Devils, as he has been on loan during three of his four United seasons. He did have 12 goals in 27 appearances for Pacos de Ferreira during his last loan spell, so Benfica may look at him favorably
Gaitan had a highly successful season with the Lisbon Club, winning both the Primeira Liga and the Taca da Liga (League Cup) and making it to the Europa League final. He made 42 appearances for the Portuguese champions, scoring eight goals in all competitions. His great skill on the ball and passing was a major asset to the Benfica attack. He put many balls into dangerous areas for Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo, his strikers. His attacking flair was another major asset, and it allowed him to create multiple chances for his fellow attackers.
Gaitan has often been criticized for not scoring enough goals in his career. If he were to sign for Manchester United, he would not be needed as the primary goalscorer, but he would be needed to provide assists. And the fact is, even though Gaitan is a great crosser of the ball, he had no assists this last season. And out wide is where United need arguably a lot of help, as players like Ashley Young and Nani were criticized for their play. So for Gaitan to potentially make a big impact at United, he has to provide more final results to his great play.