£30m Gaitan on way to United

 

The agent Jorge Mendes has cemented his position as a major driver of Manchester United's transfer business by brokering the deal which is likely to see Benfica's Argentinian midfielder Nicolas Gaitan sign for Sir Alex Ferguson at a price of €35m (£29.3m) next summer.

Mendes, who has delivered Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson, David de Gea and Bebe to Old Trafford in the past eight years, is a respected figure at Old Trafford and helped secure the informal agreement which, the Independent on Sunday revealed, should make Gaitan a United player next June. Benfica did not deny the story yesterday.

The negotiating process has been complicated by a €45m (£37.7m) release clause, which United had categorically refused to meet, written into a new contract signed by the 23-year-old in October. Gaitan is also one of a number of players at the Portuguese club who are effectively only part-owned by Benfica, a proportion of their economic rights having been sold to the Benfica Stars Fund, a football investment fund set up in 2009 to raise short-term money for the club. Around 15 per cent of any transfer fee for Gaitan – around £5.25m – would have to be paid into the fund upon completion of the proposed move to Manchester.

Benfica's requirement to pay Boca Juniors 20 per cent of the final transfer fee – probably £7m – under the terms of the deal by which they signed him in May 2010, also explains the Portuguese side's firm negotiating stance. But after United's scouting efforts left them satisfied Gaitan could play a major part for them, Mendes has helped find a way through the complications. Gaitan's agent is Rafael Irribarren, though Mendes also concluded the deal which delivered Gaitan to Lisbon, 18 months ago. It remains to be seen what will happen if another club comes in with a far higher offer this summer.

While no firm contractual agreement has been reached between the clubs, The Independent understands that the loosely agreed deal could potentially see United paying up to €40m (£33.5m) if Gaitan has a particularly prolific second half to the season. The final fee will be contingent on the player's appearances and performances. Sources in Portugal say that United's own performances in domestic and European competition may also affect the final figure.

United's agreement with Benfica does not appear to involve a move for Gaitan's fellow midfielder Javi Garcia, who also impressed in this autumn's fixtures against United in the Champions League. This newspaper revealed earlier this month that United had asked Benfica to notify them of any moves from other clubs for both Garcia and Gaitan, who is also understood to have been the subject of interest from Valencia. United scouts watched both players at Benfica's recent matches against Naval and Sporting Lisbon – specifically to develop a clearer picture on them, rather than to prepare for United's encounter with Benfica on 22 November, in which both played.

Though Gaitan's services would be of immediate value to Ferguson, Benfica fans would respond fiercely to any sale in January. Many of them still blame the club's board for ceding the title back to Porto last season, having sold Angel di Maria to Real Madrid and David Luiz to Chelsea within six months of taking their first championship in five years. Benfica and arch-rivals Porto are again neck and neck at the top.

Third-party ownership arrangements are rare in Portugal, though Luiz fell into the same category as Gaitan in January, when £6.4m had to be paid into the Benfica Stars fund. Benfica's brinkmanship made that transfer complicated, though United's informal agreement may smooth progress this time around.

More stories...

Rampant Rooney helps rejuvenated Reds to run riot

Bitter Keane still broods on faults of all but himself

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower