Nicolas Gaitan
Gaitan is confident that Benfica can dump Chelsea from the Champions League REUTERS

Sir Alex Ferguson is continuing to scout Nicolas Gaitan, according to numerous reports, with the attacking midfielder high on the Manchester United manager's transfer wishlist.

Gaitan was part of the Benfica side that defeated Sporting Lisbon 1-0 at the weekend, and Ferguson is said to have sent scouts to watch the Argentine in action as the Portuguese side kept their position of first in the Primeira Liga table, Talksport claims.

And while Barcelona are reportedly interested in Gaitan alongside Manchester United, the 23 year old is firmly in Ferguson's sights, though a January move would seem unlikely for the star.

In September, Ferguson reportedly heaped praise on Gaitan after Benfica drew 1-1 with United in the Champions League. The playmaker responded to the kind words with appreciation, telling reporters: "I honestly did not know about this. Someone just told me. I did not know about it, but it is always important when positive words come from a coach of this magnitude."

But Gaitan moved to play down rumours of a move to United during this week, after Benfica again drew with United 2-2 in the European tournament top secure their place in the final 16.

"Manchester? I am very content for the moment at Benfica. I am very happy to be here with a team that is fighting to win important titles," he said.

Ferguson admitted last week that while he has 'two or three' transfer targets in mind for the January transfer window, he will likely have to wait until summer to land any players who he believes can make the United squad better.

And while Benfica are still in Champions League contention, Gaitan may be hard pressed to agree to a deal to move to United, despite the English giants being able to offer a challenge for trophies on every possible platform in domestic and European football.

Gaitan is said to be worth around £40 million, and while it's a more expensive fee than that for playmaker target Wesley Sneijder, his wage bill would be far lower, making him a more affordable option in the long run.