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Man Utd set to win battle with Valencia for Enzo Perez in summer

Premier League title third-favourites Manchester United (12/1 with Coral) are reportedly winning the race to sign versatile Benfica midfielder Enzo Perez, ahead of La Liga side Valencia.

Los Che were said to be very keen to recruit the Argentina international next summer, but have now seemingly been put off by the 28-year-old’s hefty £25m pricetag, after his fantastic season so far with the Portuguese outfit.

Perez, who has been with Benfica since 2011 following his move from Estudiantes de la Plata back in his home country, has helped his current club to top of the table in the Primeira Liga, losing just one of their first 12 games.

His performances this and last term, in particular, put him back into international recognition, with former Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella calling Perez up for the World Cup in Brazil, where he started in both the semis and final.

New manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has also used him in recent friendlies, but largely in an unfavoured role out on the wing.

Perez is a usual central midfielder for Benfica, but can play in defensive or attacking areas and, with Man Utd struggling for men in that position, they could be willing to pay the relatively high price for him.

The Red Devils have also been linked with Roma’s Kevin Strootman for a while, but he has been valued far higher than Perez by the Serie A side. Plus, with his injury issues, Louis van Gaal may not want to take the chance anymore.

Man Utd have certainly been in fine form of late, gaining five straight Premier League games that has taken up to third in the table. However, their recent uninspired performance against Southampton suggests they are in much need of more recruits if they are to win a major trophy this season (3/1 chances to do so).

They now have a two-point cushion on the fifth-placed Saints, and are odds-on at 1/4 to to finish in the top four at the end of this campaign.