According to the Daily Telegraph and a number of other sources, Manchester United have all but wrapped up a deal to sign Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan in a £20m deal. Given that he’s already been dubbed the ‘Argentine Cristiano Ronaldo’ it’s little wonder that the Press are having a field day. But is there any truth to all the rumours and would he make for a good signing?
Gaitan has come to the attention of British football fans thanks to his prominence in this season’s Champions League. His four goals and 13 assists helped guide Benfica to the Champions League quarter final and they also look certain to finish second in the Primeira Liga.
Given that United have been lacking creatively for a while now, Gaitan may seem like the ideal solution. Whilst they’ve been linked persistently to Wesley Sneijder and Luka Modric both players would cost an absolute fortune.
Whilst Gaitan wouldn’t come cheap (he’s rumoured to have a £38m release clause) as he’s yet to play in one of Europe’s top Leagues, it’s unlikely Benfica would be able to hold out for that kind of money. The Telegraph claim that he’ll cost United just £20m and that they’ll have to throw in Fabio da Silva and Federico Macheda to sweeten the deal.
Da Silva will join the Portuguese outfit on a season long loan whilst it’s suggested that Macheda will make a permanent move. Whether there’s any truth to these claims remains to be seen, but I think it’s fair to suggest that these are two players that the Red Devils can afford to lose.
Whilst many may feel that United’s priority isn’t the wings (with Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia all running wild) Fergie’s interest in Eden Hazard proves that he hasn’t ruled out a move for a winger. Then there’s the fact that Gaitan is pretty versatile: he can play on either wing and he’s also played as an attacking central midfielder in his time.
He’s got great technique, can beat his man through a combination of pace and skill and can pass his way through a team too. Once he’s reached the by-line he’s more than capable of cracking in a tempting cross (hence his 5 Champions League assists this season).
Given that he’s not goal-shy either I think it’s fair to say that he’s an adept all-round attacking midfielder. Isn’t that exactly what Manchester United have been calling out for, for the last couple of seasons? I for one hope that this isn’t just tabloid tattle without any foundation, but I’ll remain sceptical until I see the news announced on the official United website.
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