It’s getting clearer and clearer that Rio Ferdinand isn’t going to be a starting centre back for Manchester United for much longer. The surprising thing is hearing about a likely potential replacement, Ezequiel Garay, who might be making a move from Benfica to the Premier League.

According to O Jogo, Manchester United have been following the 26 year old Argentinian centre back for quite some time, and have entered negotiations with Benfica for the player in recent weeks. United offered €15 million, which were rejected, as some say that Benfica are holding out, waiting for a bid worth €30 million. It’s believed that the player has already agreed his personal terms with United.

Garay has been with Benfica since 2011, signed for €5.5 million from Real Madrid. Garay never really caught on with the Spanish giants, playing a total of 25 league matches for the club and spending another season on loan with Racing Santander. He has played in all but one match for Benfica this season in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and all of their matches in the Champions League, scoring one goal. He has also been capped 11 times for the national team since making his debut in 2007.

Garay, if he arrives this season, won’t be available for Champions League matches which might mean United are only getting the player after the 2012-2013 season is over, hoping the 26 year old is ready to make the leap from a player in Portugal to the English Premier League, the same way another former Benfica centre back has, David Luiz who now plays for Chelsea. Unlike Luiz, Garay is a more “classic” centre back, without the impressive attacking attributes, but has a better aerial game and usually more focused on defense.

Rio Ferdinand has played for Manchester United since 2002, but his form has been up and down these past couple of years, and it’s rumored that this might be his final season with the Red Devils, his contract expiring at the end of the season and quite a few teams willing to give him a starting spot in their lineup.