Gaitan in shop window against Chelsea after Benfica agree to cash in on star
21:46 GMT, 26 March 2012
Nicolas Gaitan will press his claims for a move to the Barclays Premier League against Chelsea after Benfica reluctantly decided to cash in on their prize asset.
Both Manchester clubs, United and City, have been strongly linked with the 24-year old Argentina winger, while Tottenham are sure to be alerted to his imminent availability after launching a search for more attacking options.
Old Trafford insiders recently distanced themselves from speculation about Gaitan, despite Sir Alex Ferguson describing him in glowing terms after this season's Champions' League games between the sides.
Wanted man: Nico Gaitan will be sold by Benfica in the summer
City remain keen, while Tottenham confirmed they are in the market for top quality on the flanks by including Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett in their list of summer targets.
Like Hoilett, Gaitan, signed from Boca Juniors for 7.5million two years ago as a direct replacement for Real Madrid-bound Angel Di Maria, can play in a more central role, as well as on the wing.
His buy-out clause of 40million is designed to give Benfica more bargaining power over a fee that is likely to be approaching 25million, if, as expected, he leaves at the end of the season.
Impressive: Gaitan shown against Manchester United this season
He will be a key figure against Chelsea for a Benfica side who are reaping the benefits of a Portuguese League policy to allow their Champions' League representatives 72 hours' breathing space before ties.
They drew 0-0 with Olhanense on Friday, and coach Jorge Jesus said: 'We are feeling fresh and ready to make the most of home advantage in the first leg. Our home form is our great strength, so we will do everything we can to build a lead to take with us to Stamford Bridge.'