Nicolas Gaitan
Nicolas Gaitan impressed in the 1-1 draw with Man Utd earlier this season. REUTERS REUTERS

Manchester United have identified Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan as their top target for the January transfer window, after the defeat by Manchester City highlighted their need for extra creativity in midfield.

Gaitan caught Sir Alex Ferguson's eye during United's 1-1 draw against the Portuguese club in their Champions League group game last month and has subsequently been monitored by United's European network.

Interest in Gaitan prompted Benfica to offer the 23-year-old a new five-year contract which will double his annual salary to £2m.

However, the Argentine's release clause has not been increased beyond the existing £40m mark and United, who are also interested in Anderlecht midfielder Lucas, are ready to meet Benfica's asking price after failing to sign Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder and Samir Nasri this summer.

Meanwhile, Juventus midfielder Milos Krasic has admitted he is honoured to be linked with a move to Old Trafford in the next transfer window but insists he will not let the speculation affect his side's impressive start to the season.

"All the transfer rumours are just nonsense and I don't want to waste any time on that," Krasic told La Gazetta dello Sport.

"All the clubs mentioned are big teams and bring great honour, but neither I, nor my manager, are aware of anything of it.

"However, neither I nor my agent are aware of any of it."

The Serbian international, who signed from CSKA Moscow in 2010, has scored seven goals in 39 appearances for the Serie A club.