As exclusively revealed by Goal, the 27-year-old was the subject of a £6 million-per-year salary offer from Old Trafford before the deal broke down and the Argentina international has revealed that the reason for his transfer collapsing was the departure of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
|MANCHESTER UNITED LATEST
|6/4||Man Utd are 6/4 with BetVictor to finish outside the top four
He told the Daily Mirror: "I believed I was going to join Manchester United in the summer. The deal was nearly closed but finally Benfica did not accept the offer.
"I believe the exit of Ferguson has influenced the deal. Moyes did not believe in me as much but that's not a problem.
"I am happy at Benfica and have a lot of dreams and ambitions for this season. Now I only think about the present, which is Benfica, but it's never possible to discount anything in the future."
The centre-back - who formerly played at Real Madrid and Racing Santander - has been linked with a switch to Barcelona in recent times.