Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Benfica playmaker Nicolas Gaitan for £22 million with the Red Devils' defender and striker duo of Brazilian Fabio da Silva and Italian Federico Macheda going in the other direction, in a cash-plus-players deal, according to the Telegraph.
The report, however, says that although Gaitan will move to Old Trafford in the summer, the deal will not be announced officially until the end of the season. The Portuguese club fears a backlash from their fans in a situation similar to the Arsenal - Lukas Podolski deal.
The Argentine midfielder had a buy-out clause of £40 million but it seems the offer of two of United's talented youngsters has reduced the purchase price. However, it should be noted reports suggest Fabio will move on a season-long loan, for now. Macheda's transfer, though, could be permanent.
Gaitan, who is equally proficient attacking either from the centre or the flanks, was heavily linked with United in the January transfer window and though negotiations were believed to have taken place, no deal was confirmed then.
The 24 year old has been very impressive in the Champions League this season, setting up seven goals in 12 matches and Ferguson described him in glowing terms after the encounter between the two sides in the group stages.
Benfica had earlier stated they would be reluctant to sell the player but the club's president Luis Filipe Vieira recently revealed the club would be forced to sell a few players this summer and Gaitan is definitely the most wanted man in their squad.
It is reported that Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes brokered the deal, alongside United Chief Executive David Gill. Mendes, who played a big part in taking the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani to Old Trafford, also helped United in the now controversial transfer of Bebe from Guimaraes two seasons ago.
United had initially tried to include Bebe as a makeweight in the deal along with Macheda but it was the option of having Fabio that has seemingly persuaded Benfica to conclude negotiations.
The addition of two players in the deal could work well for Benfica, who have to pay Gaitan's former club Boca Juniors 20 per cent of any transfer fee they receive. Gaitan was also linked to Inter Milan and the big-spending Paris St-Germain.