Who is Nicolas Gaitan? We profile the Benfica forward who has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

He's the conjurer tearing up defences in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. The Benfica forward has been flirting with a move to Old Trafford since 2012, but up until now United have been unwilling to meet the £35million release clause in his contract. Now, with the Super Eagles looking to cash in, and Louis van Gaal throwing money around like confetti, this deal is back on the table. What can United fans expect to see from the Argentinian winger? Let's find out...Ever heard the story about the scrawny kid who was told he'd never make it, but then went on to become a superstar? Yes, loads of times. Guess what? Here's another. Like many scraggy kids, Gaitan was rejected by a host of clubs because of his small frame, but Boca Juniors saw potential in this fleet-footed 13-year-old and signed him up.

Gaitan plays in an attacking midfield role or on the wing
Gaitan plays in an attacking midfield role or on the wing
As he matured physically, his technical skills came to the fore and he rapidly rose through the ranks, making his senior debut in June 2008. In the summer of 2010, Benfica had an Angel di Maria shaped hole to fill. Where could they find another wiry Argentinian winger, who liked to run at defenders and create chances for his team-mates... Yep, you guessed it. Two impressive seasons at La Bombonera convinced the Portuguese club to splash out €8.4 million on Gaitan - their second most-expensive transfer ever.

The South American took time to acclimatise to the European game, but once he found his groove he started to showcase his obvious talents. In his debut season at the Estadio da Luz, he won the Primeira Liga's Breakthrough Player of the Season after netting nine goals in 48 games. The following season, he further enhanced his reputation by chalking up five assists in the Champions League - more than any other player in the group stages.

Like many raw talents before him, the 27-year-old has out grown Portugal's top flight and is ready to graduate to Europe's top table.

What type of player is he?

Speed? Tick. Skill? Tick. Vision? Tick. YouTube star? Tick. OK, even United flop Bebe has a blockbuster show reel, but seriously, check out Gaitan's wizardry against Sporting in the Derby de Lisboa from April 2013.

Unsurprisingly for an attack-minded wide player, he's a little naïve defensively and Van Gaal will have to work hard to fine tune his tactical acumen, but when it comes to the big games, he delivers - just ask Sir Alex Ferguson.

Gaitan came up against Ashley Young in the Champions League in 2011
Gaitan came up against Ashley Young in the Champions League in 2011
"Gaitan played with intelligence and showed great individual skill," enthused the former Old Trafford boss after the winger put on a show against United in 2011.

Argentine talent spotter, Ramno Maddoni, who uncovered the likes of Fernando Redondo, Carlos Tevez and Juan Roman Riquelme, believes Gaitan is ready to compete with his international team-mate Di Maria in Manchester. "He's at the same level as Di Maria. He has a great change of pace and is very intelligent."

Where would he fit in at United?

With pace and trickery in his arsenal, Gaitan poses a threat out wide, with the left flank his preferred home.

In Van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation, this would see him deployed at left wing-back, a position Ashley Young made his own last season. Luke Shaw will also be hoping to stake a claim for this role come August.

Armed with a wicked left foot, he'd be effective cutting inside from the right, forcing defences to scramble across and cover runners.

But it's just behind the strikers where his talents may be best deployed. Roaming menacingly in this pocket of space, he could unsettle formations, slip through balls to Wayne Rooney and push back defences with his direct running.

Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Angel di Maria and Adnan Januzaj will all be vying for this starting berth so he'll have a battle on his hands.