Man Utd boosted in pursuit of wantaway Valencia defender Otamendi
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal recently hinted that the club are set to enjoy another big summer of transfer activity, and reported defensive target Nicolas Otamendi has handed a massive boost to the Red Devils, having declared he wants to depart La Liga outfit Valencia this year.
Argentina’s talented international centre back has outlined his desire to leave the Mestalla Stadium in the coming months, having helped Los Che to a fourth place finish this term in La Liga, playing a vital role in his side’s qualification for the Champions League and earning a call-up to the Copa America squad (2/1 with Coral to win).
Otamendi has been a dominant figure in the heart of Valencia’s defence this season, featuring 38 times in all competitions and enjoying a superb surge in goalscoring form from a centre back position in the season run-in.
The aggressive 27-year-old netted three goals in his final four games for Valencia this term, a vital run of form which ultimately saw the club secure their place in next season’s elite European competition.
However, heated speculation has circulated since last year that a move to Old Trafford was in the Argentine’s thinking, and his agent Eugenio Lopez recently confirmed that the stalwart Valencia defender wants to force a move away from his current employers.
“Nicolas told [club president Amadeo] Salvo to his face that he wanted to leave Valencia in the summer,” declared Otamendi’s representative Lopez.
“Nicolas is happy at Valencia and with the fans, but he’s got an option to improve on a professional level.
“Nico is going to do everything [possible] to leave. There are a lot of conversations with clubs that want Otamendi. Nicolas loves everything at Valencia but, if the chance arose to leave, he’d do everything possible to make it happen.”
Van Gaal has already snapped up PSV’s talented wingman Memphis Depay for £25m, and a swoop for £45m-rated Otamendi could be on the cards as well, with the United boss revealing the club plan to begin a squad overhaul.
“I have talked with every player. Those I think I have to talk to,” stated Van Gaal.
“The transfer period is a process. I know which players have to go and which players have to come but you never know if they go or if they come because it is dependable on a lot of aspects.”
Such a hefty reported fee for the Argentine target could be a stumbling block but, with Van Gaal indicating imminent departures from his squad as well as incomers, he may have plenty of funds available to splash out on a much-needed centre back.
A potentially potent defensive pairing with fellow Argentina international Marco Rojo is a mouth-watering prospect at Old Trafford for Otamendi, with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Antonio Valencia and Rafael being other South Americans in the ranks.
It’s clearly evident that the Red Devils will need to acquire the services of a dominant defensive figurehead for next season, with Van Gaal aiming to mount a genuine Premier League title charge (9/2 to win 2015/16 PL) and also make an impact in the club’s return to the Champions League, providing they win their qualifying clash.
Otamendi’s supreme presence in United’s rearguard could fill a void that has been gaping in recent seasons since the departure of former defensive giants Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and the Argentine seems keen on a switch from Valencia to the red half of Manchester.