Nicolas Gaitan
Gaitan committed to Benfica until 2019. Getty

Benfica winger and former Manchester United target Nicolas Gaitan has signed a new contract with the Portuguese giants which has increased his release clause to €45m (£32.5m, $49.2m).

Gaitan, 27, has been almost routinely linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent years but that speculation heightened during last summer's transfer window when the player's agent Jose Iribarren confirmed negotiations with the Premier League side were ongoing.

"Everything is possible. There are negotiations pending with Manchester United. The will of the player is that everything runs as smoothly as possible. We are awaiting a response," Iribarren then said.

The tale took another twist with Cassiamo Pereita, the agent of former United favourite Rafael da Silva, revealed the possibility of a swap deal involving the full-back and Gaitan had been discussed. Rafael would later join Ligue 1 side Lyon instead.

Following the closure of the transfer window, Gaitan entered talks with Benfica to extend his stay at the Estadio da Luz, with Abola suggesting in November the club would also raise his release clause from €35m to €45m (£25m-£35m). That deal has since been confirmed by the club, with the Argentina international declaring he is now committed to "one of the best teams in Europe."

"This agreement is fantastic. It is a vote of confidence from the club and I am delighted," he told Benfica's official website. "Reaching an agreement was easy and quick. Both parties are happy."

Fresh speculation linking Gaitan with Old Trafford emerged in the summer following the decisions to sell both Nani and Angel di Maria. Those departures have left the club short of effective wide options this season, despite the arrival from Memphis Depay, who has struggled for consistency since his arrival from PSV Eindhoven.

Manager Louis van Gaal has said on a number of occasions he will try to address the club's lack of "speed and creativity" in wide areas in the January transfer window.