Benfica chief rules out Di Maria move

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has ruled out the possibility of Angel Di Maria leaving the Portuguese giants in favour of a move to either Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City during the January transfer window.

The winger’s recent impressive displays for the free-scoring Eagles – including in their 5-0 Europa League demolition of Everton last month – have made the Argentine starlet one of the hottest properties in European football.

Di Maria recently extended his contract at the Estadio da Luz until June 2015, which included a release clause of £36 million.

However, the hefty price tag is unlikely to dispel interest from Mark Hughes' Blues, who are reportedly favourites to land his signature.

City’s rivals Chelsea and Manchester United have also been strongly linked with the South American prodigy, and are believed to have sent scouts to watch the 21-year-old during Argentina’s 2-1 defeat to Spain on Saturday night.

But Di Maria has insisted he wishes to stay in Portugal, and his club believe the Argentine still has a pivotal role to play as Benfica compete for both domestic and Europa League glory.

“The Benfica fans can be calm,” Vieira told A Bola. “Di Maria will not leave the club in January.

“We know there is interest from big clubs in the kid but we need his help for many objectives like the Portuguese league.”