Manchester United and Chelsea are set to get involved in a bidding war for talented Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay in the summer transfer window.

English newspaper The Mirror has reported today that both United and Chelsea send their scouts when Benfica played against Spurs in the Europa League and fairly impressed with the Argentine’s performance.

 The 27-year-old centre-half has been linked to a host of Premier League clubs – namely Manchester United – for a number of years, but the tabloid believe that David Moyes and Jose Mourinho are to step up their bid to sign the Argentine. And Zenit St Petersburg were also heavily linked with the defender in the winter transfer window. Garay scored the opening goal in Benfica’s aggregate win over Spurs on Thursday, and was typically solid at the heart of the Portuguese side’s defence – proving just why he is constantly linked with a move to England.

For United, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling may be the future but with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand gone this summer Manchester United need a world class replacement and Ezequiel Garay is the right man. Jonny Evans is the most experienced of the centre-backs that United will be left with this summer. He has played ‘international’ football both for his club and country since he was 18. He has been lauded in the past by Sir Alex Ferguson but, despite having a couple of excellent seasons, has not yet quite convinced.

Garay started his career with Newell’s Old Boys but moved to Spain at the age of 19, going on to amass La Liga totals of 109 games and 15 goals over the course of six seasons, with Racing de Santander and Real Madrid. In 2011 he signed with Benfica. Garay is the complete modern centre-back, even capable of playing in a three as Benfica did at times on Wednesday. He was calm, composed and unflustered throughout the match. Apart from his distribution, his positioning was superb and his tactical awareness. And he capped the whole thing off with a towering headed goal that United should score more of. Garay has played an average of 38 times for Benfica in his three seasons (the Portuguese League is 30 matches).

In what is one of the longest transfer sagas in football history, it is no surprise to see Garay linked with Manchester United (and Chelsea) once again. The defender blamed instability at Manchester United for a his summer move falling through, and with the turmoil continuing at Old Trafford, it is hard to see just why Garay would finally leave the Portuguese outfit. However, with Chelsea – who are still fighting it out on domestic and European fronts – now in the hunt, a summer switch may finally happen.