Report: Long-term Manchester United target Perez seals Valencia switch

Benfica and Valencia have agreed a deal for Enzo Perez, but was the Argentine ever a realistic option for Louis van Gaal this winter?

Only days after it was exclusively revealed that Benfica midfielder Enzo Perez was set to complete a move to Manchester United, the Argentine has been officially confirmed as Spanish side Valencia’s latest signing.

The La Liga club tweeted the official news last night, welcoming the player to the club. Perez will join Valencia on the 2nd of January when the winter transfer window opens, although the club says this is still pending a medical.

Perez, an Argentinian international arrived at Manises-Valencia airport at around 11:30pm on Monday evening and will undergo the medical today. All going well the deal will be fully ratified.

There was no mention of a fee on Valencia’s official communication, but it looks like it will be less than his €23 million release clause.

Perez had been a long-term target for Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly keen on bringing the 28-year-old to Old Trafford in the past.

Spanish newspaper Superdeporte had earlier revealed that Valencia were unwilling to match Benfica’s demands and that the door had been opened for United to make a late bid. However, both clubs have now agreed on a deal that suits both sides and Van Gaal will need to look elsewhere to strengthen his midfield options.

Valencia currently sit fourth in the Spanish league, but are only one point above Sevilla, and will be hoping that Perez can be the difference in helping them stay in the Champions League qualification place.

The addition of Perez may even help them close the gap on third placed Atletico Madrid. It would mean the midfielder rediscovering his form, after 11 games he has only scored once for Benfica this season.

It’s unclear whether or not Manchester United were ever genuinely interested in the 28-year-old. Paying over £10 million for a creative midfielder that has only scored nine goals in three seasons doesn’t sound that the type of move that would help United close the gap on City and Chelsea.

This could have been a ploy by Benfica and Perez to help force Valencia’s hand. For United fans, they must hope they have some bigger and more productive players in their sights. If not, they will have no chance of finishing higher than third this season.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch