Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to launch a January bid for Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan. The Independent says United have stepped up their interest in the Benfica midfielders Gaitan and Javi Garcia, placing their discussions with the Portuguese side on an official footing in an attempt to prevent other clubs getting in ahead of them.
United have asked Benfica, who advanced from United's group into the Champions League knockout stage, to notify them of any moves from other clubs for either of the two midfielders, both of whom impressed in this autumn's fixtures against Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Benfica have told United that Gaitan, 23, who has a £39m release clause, has been the subject of interest from Valencia.
Garcia, who has been widely linked to Arsenal and Internazionale in the Portuguese press, does not carry the impediment of a release clause though Real Madrid, who nurtured him as a youngster, do have first refusal on a player who has emerged as a candidate for Spain's Euro 2012 squad.