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The Premier League champions made a late bid for the Argentine center half but later withdrew their interest, allowing los Che to pounce.

Valencia sporting director Francisco Rufete has revealed that the club signed Nicolas Otamendi after Manchester United abandoned its interest in the player.

Goal reported on the eve of the transfer window closing that the Premier League champions had made a late 14.8 million euro bid for Porto's Argentina defender.

A deal failed to materialize, however, and rumors surfaced late on January 31 that Otamendi would be moving to Valencia, although the move was not completed until after the deadline passed and he has not been registered to play in La Liga this season.

Otamendi will now go out on loan until the end of the campaign, with the leatest reports suggesting Copa Libertadores champions Atletico Mineiro as his destination, but Rufete says that in spite of the complications, Valencia felt that they had to take the opportunity to sign the center half when they could.

"If I'd tried to buy Otamendi after the World Cup, it's possible he couldn't come," he told a club supporters' lunch. "A great sacrifice and a lot work was necessary for him to come. He will explain that when he arrives. We saw that Manchester United pulled out and we moved in."

Porto confirmed to the stock exchange that it will receive 12 million euros plus bonuses for Otamendi, who has agreed a five-year deal at Mestalla.

Uncertainty still surrounds the deal, however, with reports in Spain suggesting that Otamendi could not complete his move because the club already had a full quota of non-EU players on their books, while it has also been reported that he did not arrive for negotiations before the transfer window closed.

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