Manchester United have long been linked with a move in signing Benfica star Nicolas Gaitan and it is now revealed they made a €30m bid for the attacker by Al Ahli manager Cosmin Olaroiu.
The United Arab Emirates outfit were also keen on signing the Argentine international last summer as they made a bid, which was €5m more than what the Red Devils were offering last summer. Benfica agreed a deal with Al Ahli, but the player was not interested in joining them and that was the reason for the deal to not take shape.
“We tabled €35m for Gaitan, which was above the €30m offered by Manchester United. We agreed the deal with Benfica, but the player turned the deal down,” Olaroiu told Romanian outlet GSP.
Gaitan has been constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford in every transfer window, be it summer or the mid-season transfer window, with an exception of the recently concluded window where there has been hardly any reports suggesting he is a target for Louis van Gaal’s side.
He signed a new contract with the Portuguese outfit after the start of last season and his new deal will keep him at Benfica until 2019. United confirmed a deal has been agreed with PSV for Memphis Depay before the end of the last season as they had to beat competition from Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.
It looked like Gaitan was another player Van Gaal wanted on the wings last summer as a potential replacement for Angel Di Maria, who left United after one year and joined Paris Saint-Germain.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has fielded Anthony Martial on the left, ahead of Depay after the Dutch international’s inconsistent form for the 20-time English champions. Van Gaal even criticised Depay as he believes his compatriot was responsible for allowing Chelsea to equalise in United’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Depay was demoted to United Under-21s, where he impressed with two assists as they defeated Norwich City Under-21s 7-0 at Old Trafford. In his absence, Martial has been made to play on the left wing, while Jesse Lingard has grabbed the opportunity as he has featured on the right side of the wings, with Juan Mata playing behind the striker in his preferred No 10 role.
Had United managed to sign Gaitan last summer, his pace and creativity would have been a boon for them. The 27-year-old has the ability to play on the wings or behind the striker and his attacking threat could have helped them improve their goal scoring record, especially in the first half of the ongoing season.