Nicolas Gaitan
Manchester United have long been linked with a move in signing Benfica star Nicolas Gaitan. Reuters

Manchester United are reportedly preparing a move in signing Benfica star Nicolas Gaitan in January.

According to the Portuguese newspaper A Bola, Red Devils' summer signing Angel Di Maria is trying to convince United manager Louis van Gaal to bring his compatriot to Old Trafford in the mid-season transfer window.

The winger was signed by the 20-times English champions from Real Madrid for a British record fee of £59.7m earlier in the summer. Di Maria is accompanied by Marcos Rojo and he now wants Gaitan to join the Argentine contingent at United.

Earlier, it was reported that United have sent their scouts to watch Gaitan and his Benfica teammate Enzo Perez during their defeat to Braga in the Cup game. Gaitan's natural position is on the left-wing and the wide positions are where United lack quality.

Di Maria can play on the wings and is comfortable playing on both right and left wing. Apart from the former Real star, Van Gaal has the services of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia on the wide positions.

However, both Young and Valencia have been featuring as wing backs in the last few fixtures as injuries to Rafael and Luke Shaw forced the Dutchman to change his formation. With lack of players on the wings, Van Gaal could make an approach for Gaitan next month.

The Argentine's current deal at Benfica runs down in 2018 and he has a release clause of £27.5m in his contract. Any move from United for Gaitan's services will see them spend big when the transfer window re-opens next month.

The Manchester Evening News report claims the 20-times English champions could spend around £30m in bringing reinforcements next month. United's priority is to sign a defensive midfielder and AS Roma's Kevin Strootman has long been a transfer target in January.

The Dutch international is one step away from joining United, according to Italian agent Matteo Materazzi. A move for Strootman in the January transfer window could block Gaitan's potential switch to Old Trafford.