Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi has signed pre-contract with Manchester United, according to Argentinean publication Ole.

The Argentine centre-half played a key role at the heart of Valencia’s defence, and has agreed to play for the 20 time English Champions next season. Although the player has given a green light for the move, a fee for the 27-year-old is yet to be agreed.

Otamendi was signed by Valencia from FC Porto in the winter of 2014 for a fee of €12 million, on a five-year deal, but was loaned to Clube Atlético Mineiro in the Brazilian League. Since making his debut for the Mestalla club in August, Otamendi has been the cornerstone of the defense that has kept 13 clean sheets in the La Liga.

LEADING FROM THE BACK: Otamendi’s fine form has propelled Valencia to a fourth spot

Valencia are one win away from securing a Champions League berth, and play a crucial tie against relegation-threatened Almeria. Should they fail to qualify for Europe’s most elite competition, Los Che could be forced to sell one of their most prized assets in Otamendi to balance their books.

The former Velez Sarsfield robust tackler has a €50 million (£36 million) release clause, which United are reluctant to meet. Valcencia meanwhile, won’t budge from the valuation of Otamendi.

The Red Devils were dealt a blow in their pursuit of number one target Mats Hummels, who is reportedly set to stay at Borussia Dortmund. Louis van Gaal’s side are hence set to convince Otamendi to swap Spain for England.

SETBACK: Manchester United have been delivered a blow in Hummels’ pursuit

United are long admirers of the Argentine, and Valencia are rumored to have turned down a £23million bid in the January transfer market.

Louis van Gaal currently has Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Marcos Rojo as his centre-half options. And with Evans reportedly set to be axed in the summer, Otamendi’s arrival could see him directly cement his place in the first team.

With Hummels no longer an option, United have also recognized Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao as a back-up option. The Red Devils have already secured three summer signings in Memphis Depay, Sam Grimshaw and Illias Moutha-Sebtaoui.

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Image Courtesy: UEFA, Express

    Ardent Manchester United supporter. Scholes is my God, Old Trafford my temple. Football bloody hell !

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