Manchester United have completed the signing of Benfica center-back Ezequiel Garay, according to reports in Portuguese media.
The 26-year-old has drawn a lot of attention from big European clubs this season. The former Real Madrid defender has excelled for Benfica this season as the Portuguese club find themselves at the top of the Liga Sagres. Statistically, Benfica have the second best defence in Portugal, having conceded only 14 goals in 23 matches and Garay’s consistently good record has been one of the prime reasons behind those statistics.
The Argentine international had been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United, with Barcelona reportedly joining the race of late, as the Catalan giants looked for defensive cover. It was believed that Benfica are prepared to sell the defender if the right offer came in.
Now Portuguese newspaper, Record, are reporting that Manchester United have gazumped other suitors and have reached an agreement with the Portuguese club for the transfer of Garay in the summer. Reports also suggest that the deal could rise up to £17m; which in all fairness seems to be an exaggerated price.
Even though Rio Ferdinand and Vidic remains Sir Alex’s first choice center back pairing, they have entered the wrong side of thirties. Both Ferdinand (34) and Vidic (31) have been frequently injured in recent times and their fitness is a cause for concern. Garay will be an impressive addition to the likes of Jones, Smalling and Evans.
The 26-year-old is a classy defender who is good on the ball and has good experience in top level of football for his age. Although his positioning has come under criticism at times, he will definitely improve with age. Interestingly, Real Madrid will keep a close eye on the proceedings as the Spanish club is entitled for a percentage of the transfer fee involving Garay’s sale.
Neither of the clubs has made any official announcement regarding any agreement between Benfica and Manchester United over the sale of Garay. It would also be interesting to see what the future holds for Smalling, Evans and Jones with another center-back being added to the squad.