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Two to go as Man United clinch swap deal for Benfica star

| 16.04.2012

Highly impressive in Benfica’s Champions League quarter-final run this season, Nicolas Gaitan has done enough to secure a move to Premier League challengers Manchester United.

Gaitan impressed immensely in the competition, not least during Benfica’s two draws with United in the group stage, and Sir Alex Ferguson has now agreed to pay a substantial amount for his services, whilst allowing two of his fringe players to go in the other direction.

Fabio da Silva is expected to join the Portuguese outfit on a season-long loan deal, whilst Federico Macheda could make a permanent move to the Lisbon giants to offset some of the cost of acquiring Gaitan.

That said, the Argentinian playmaker is still likely to attract a fee in the region of £20million, though the exact total will almost certainly be touted as undisclosed when the transfer is announced this summer.

A £38million release clause is present in Gaitan’s contract, and Benfica were initially intent on holding out for this amount, though his failure to feature in one of Europe’s top leagues as of yet made this unrealistic, in spite of interest from PSG and Inter Milan.

As Benfica will owe a percentage of any transfer fee to Gaitan’s former club Boca Juniors, a players-plus-cash deal is attractive to them though, and whilst United will be keen to keep Fabio in the long term, it is thought that his inclusion is key to the deal being concluded.

Bebe has also been mentioned as a potential makeweight in the negotiations, and the Portuguese winger could opt to return to his native country on a loan basis if given the chance.

What is certain so far is that Gaitan will join Manchester United over the summer, and the 24-year-old will be hoping that his new club will be 20-time English champions by that time.



John Klee