United close in on £30m Gaitan
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 the Old Trafford club in a £30m deal next summer.
Mendes has delivered Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson, David de Gea and Bebe to United in the past eight years.
The negotiating process has been complicated by a £37.7m release clause in the player's contract, which United have categorically refused to meet.
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 15pc of any transfer fee for Gaitan -- around £5.25m -- would have to be paid into the fund upon completion of the proposed move.
Benfica's requirement to pay Boca Juniors 20pc 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 to find a way through the complications.
While no firm contractual agreement has been reached between the clubs, the loosely agreed deal could potentially see United paying up to £33.5m if Gaitan has a particularly prolific second half to the season with the Portuguese club.
The final fee will be contingent on the player's appearances and performances.