Benfica are to step up their pursuit of Middlesbrough attacker Gaston Ramirez, according to claims in the Italian media. Last month we covered reports from Portugal that Benfica were lining up a €6m bid for the Uruguay international.

TMW have today reported Benfica are looking to close in on Ramirez following Leicester City’s attempts to sign the player in January. It’s been claimed the Portuguese giants have held initial talks to sign Ramirez this summer, but it’s not clarified if these discussions have been with Middlesbrough or the player’s agent.

Benfica will be quietly confident they can land the South American following Middlesbrough’s relegation to the Championship. Last month we reported Benfica were showing an interest in Ramirez, along with the player’s former club Penarol.

It’s unlikely at this stage of his career Ramirez would return to his home country, so a transfer to Penarol is less likely.

Middlesbrough may be happy to see the back of Ramirez given the fuss caused during the January transfer window, something which certaintly didn’t help Aitor Karanka battle against relegation.