Ezequiel Garay has had a fine season so far with Benfica and is finally close to fulfilling the potential that he showed as a teenager. The former Real Madrid defender, who joined Benfica back in 2011 after an uninspiring spell in Spain, is presently the subject of interest of top European clubs.
Earlier AC Milan were linked with the Argentine international and now Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly monitoring the defender. Reports in Portugal suggest that Benfica are open to selling the 26-year-old if the right offer comes in the summer.
Portuguese daily O Jogo, reported that Sir Alex Ferguson has sent his scout Martin Ferguson to watch over Garay and Gaitan in Benfica’s recent matches. Whereas reports in England suggest that Manchester United are already in advanced talks with Benfica regarding the transfer of the highly rated defender.
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.
But according to latest reports, United will have a competitor in the summer. Chelsea have entered the race for Garay’s signature and will be looking to utilize their good ties with the Portuguese club. The Blues have already brought David Luiz from Benfica back in 2011 and are now looking to land Garay in the summer.
Chelsea are expected to undergo major changes next season with departure of a lot of experienced players, addition of new faces and of course a new manager. The future of the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole and even David Luiz (who has been linked with Barcelona) is in doubt. And like United, Chelsea are expected to introduce new faces in the defence next summer.
Benfica are reportedly looking for a transfer fee of £15 million for Garay, but with these two English clubs being involved in a potential bidding war, the transfer fee is bound to rise. 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 in future.