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Benfica star shows Manchester United what they are missing

| 03.03.2014

With Manchester United languishing in Premier League mid-table mediocrity, David Moyes may well have had one eye on the Europa League – though perhaps not for the reason you think.

The Red Devils are currently 4/11 with Ladbrokes to finish in the top six this season, something which will be a necessity if they are to get close to claiming a place in Europe’s other cup competition.

However such thoughts will be far from the mind of Moyes, who was last night treated to a masterclass by one of Manchester United’s long-time transfer targets: Nicolas Gaitan.

As recently as January, the International Business Times was reporting rumours of an imminent move for the Argentine who has been linked with a transfer to the troubled Premier League giants for much of the past few years after impressing in Portugal.

And he was at his imperious best again last night as Benfica brushed aside PAOK to set up a last-16 clash with Tottenham, who also came through their own Europa League test against Dnipro.

The Lisbon giants are 12/1 with Ladbrokes to go one better than their final appearance in this competition last season, though that success could ultimately hinge on the performances of Gaitan.

It was the 26-year-old who eased fears against the Greek side with an exquisitely-taken free-kick that should be seen by football fans far and wide and well as Mr. Moyes himself.

With Manchester United lacking creativity and guile in the midfield, on this evidence and his overall display in the game, Gaitan could be the solution to the team’s much-publicised troubles.

The Reds are reportedly preparing to overhaul their squad over the summer and the acquisition of the Argentine could be a great way to start things off and send a message to the rest of the footballing world.

And the good news for Moyes is that Gaitan appears to be open to a move, with the Tutto Mercato website quoting him as saying: “I’d like to try an experience in another league.”

Though no price has yet been quoted, the midfielder is likely to generate a hefty transfer fee, with reports suggesting that Paris Saint Germain are also monitoring developments.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.