It seems highly unlikely Manchester United won’t add at least one centre back this summer to their changing defense, and while quite a few names have been thrown in the air, the one of Ezequiel Garay of Benfica seems to be hanging around the longest, which might also mean he has the best chances of arriving at Old Trafford.
According to the Record in Portugal, the two teams reached a “Gentleman’s agreement” at the beginning of the year, when United were looking at Garay during the January transfer window, but that had Alex Ferguson involved and not David Moyes, yet it’s hard to assume Benfica will call off the deal just because of a managerial change for United.
Garay, 26, does have a contract until 2015, which means he isn’t going to come cheaply, but according to the teams’ agreements, his transfer fee is set at €20 million, which is nearly four times what Benfica paid for Garay when they purchased him from Real Madrid.
The Argentine defender scored 2 goals in 44 matches for the side this season, and has done well to impress against United in the previous season when the two teams met twice in the Champions League.
Garay isn’t one of the fastest centre backs in the world, but his positioning and timing are close to impeccable on most days, and he has been one of the top 3 centre backs in the Portuguese league for the past couple of seasons, which hasn’t been enough for Benfica to pick up the league title, usually under tragic circumstances.
United do have a long list of players at the position for next season: Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, but there’s a good chance the Serbian will be sold while Ferdinand is no longer someone who can be counted on at a consistent level. Smalling seems to be injured most of the time, while Phil Jones shares the position with other duties on the pitch, making the addition of a central defender a much needed one.