The Red Devils looked to have missed out on the Argentinian when it emerged late in the January transfer window that he was set to sign a three-year deal with Inter Milan, per Tuttosport (via Liam Corless in the Mirror).
However, Spanish outlet Superdeporte (via Calciomercato) now reports that, with Inter having failed to nail down the signing of Banega, United are back in the mix, as he looks unlikely to remain at Sevilla past the end of the current season.
Per ESPN FC's David Amoyal, Banega, 27, wants a deal worth around €3 million (£2.3 million) per season net. It's a significant demand, but he is "one of the best players available on the expiring contract market."
Given that he will be available for free in the summer, United may be prepared to meet his demands, and they could certainly afford to if they felt he was worth it.
A hardworking box-to-box midfielder, the experienced Argentina international would provide competition for the likes of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata at Old Trafford.
He can operate in the No. 10 role or slightly deeper and is both an astute defensive operator and a high-quality creator—he has scored three goals and provided two assists in La Liga this season, per WhoScored.com.
Inter, though, seem fairly confident they can get their man, with sporting director Piero Ausilio having recently spoken on the subject, via Amoyal:
David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal
Inter sporting director Ausilio:"For Banega in June we are in good position, for Soriano we have the basis of negotiation with Samp"2/3/2016, 11:03:43 AM
Meanwhile, United centre-back target Aymeric Laporte has said he is happy at Athletic Bilbao.
The 21-year-old has been widely touted as one of the best young defenders in Europe, and he has drawn interest from Barcelona and United, while Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe has suggested he could be a target for Pep Guardiola when he takes over at Manchester City in the summer:
The Frenchman, though, has insisted he would turn down any offer from Barca and indicated he is happy at the San Mames Stadium, per Sport: "FC Barcelona is one of the most important clubs in the world, but I would reject an offer from them. They have not talked to me to present an offer, not this season or last, but it wouldn't interest me. All the future is ahead, playing these years at Athletic."
Laporte is only going to improve as he gets more and more experience, and he clearly feels Athletic—for whom he made his debut back in 2012—is the best place for him to continue to advance.
United would undoubtedly like to sign him, though, as their defensive ranks have been hit hard by injury this season.
Though they have managed to maintain one of the best defensive records in the Premier League—conceding 22 goals in 25 games—an overreliance on Chris Smalling and Daley Blind has been noticeable.
Laporte would be the ideal signing to ease the pressure in the defensive ranks—especially as Phil Jones continues to be plagued by injury—but it seems he is currently settled at Athletic.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!