Nicolas Gaitan
Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan has long been connected with a move to Manchester United. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

English Premier League champions Manchester United are reportedly close to a successful deal for Portuguese club Benfica's Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan. The move, which should take place in January, is reportedly being overseen by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

According to Portuguese media sources, United have already reached an agreement with Benfica to acquire the player's services in January. The deal was originally scheduled to be completed in summer. However, injuries to players like Anderson and Tom Cleverley, in addition to Darren Fletcher's illness, have forced Ferguson to seal the deal as quickly as possible.

Ferguson has been relatively successful when fishing in the Portuguese leagues, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson having made it big in the English game. He must now hope that Gaitan, 23, a key player for his national team, can maintain that momentum.

The manager was reportedly impressed by the player when Benfica met United in this season's Champions League and is looking to his club's Board of Directors to sanction the bid as he aims to make ground on big spenders and local rivals Manchester City, who have started the season with a bang. He must also be keen to strengthen his side and plan for the future after being prematurely knocked out from this season's Champions League.

The bid is believed to be somewhere around £25 million, according to a Caughtoffside report.