Nicolas Gaitan
Liverpool reportedly keeping tabs on Gaitan. Reuters

Liverpool are considering a move for former Manchester United target Nicolas Gaitan this summer, reports suggest.

United have held a long term interest in the Benfica winger but A Bola suggest Brendan Rodgers' side have emerged as a leading candidate for his signature, although Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg are also keen on the 26-year-old.

While United's interest in Gaitan has faded following David Moyes' arrival at Old Trafford, reports suggest Liverpool have been monitoring his progress in a much improved season from the wide man.

The club were keen to add a versatile attacking option to supplement their quartet of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho during the January transfer window but were spurned in each of their efforts.

Initially the club attempted to strike a deal with Egyptian international Mohamed Salah but posturing over a deal with his former club FC Basel allowed Premier League rivals Chelsea to swoop and secure a deal for the talented 21-year-old.

Rodgers then turned his attention to FC Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka but saw negotiations for the Ukrainian international falter on transfer deadline day. Although the club were given hope of reviving the deal in the summer, Gaitan's performances could encourage the club to consider alternative options.

Although interest from the wealthy Zenit – who have a pre-existing relationship with Benfica following Axel Witsel's move to the Russian champions in 2012 – could have a say in the matter, Gaitan's Premier League suitors will be hopeful the attraction of a better standard of competition will be enough to sway him.

"I'd like to try an experience in another league, but now I have a contract with Benfica and here I'm fine. After three and half years in this team I feel part of a big club like Benfica," Gaitan was quoted as saying earlier this year.

"I am happy that Benfica have focused on me: this game often in Europe and this allows me to compare myself with great players," he added.

Gaitan's ability to play on either wing in addition to a central role behind forwards may appeal to Rodgers, who is looking to build on his vibrant attack without making wholesale changes to his system.