If you're one who believes every transfer report as gospel, then you'll be the first to know that Manchester United have been linked with a big move for Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay.
Reports throughout Portugal, Spain and now England have all claimed that a "deal" has been done between the two clubs, and that the Red Devils will be picking up the Argentinian international over the summer transfer window once it opens in 2013.
However, few big media outlets are yet to jump on board with the "deal"—which has to leave us wondering whether this deal is completely done or not.
That's not to suggest that United aren't interested, and it certainly doesn't mean that the Red Devils won't sign Garay at some point in the future. But given the club, their current standing and positioning and the nature of the transfer window, it seems there's a lot more to this interest than we know.
Let's break down some of the key issues regarding a possible deal between Manchester United and Garay and try and understand the reported deal a bit more.
Do Manchester United Need a New Defender?
Perhaps the biggest question to start with has to be whether Untied really need a new defender or not, given their current talent on hand at the back. Guys like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling have done a tremendous job in central defense this year—so is there really a need for United to be bringing in new players this summer?
In short, yes. Both Ferdinand and Vidic are getting old (over 30 now and definitely not getting any younger) and are more susceptible to injuries. In fact, given the list of players that have played in central defense this year, it's hard to see United not buying a new defender this summer.
And, as is always the case, some of those players are linked with moves away from the club. Vidic has been linked with another big move away (as he was last transfer window), and while that might not come to fruition, it does highlight the need for more defenders.
Especially given how weak United have looked at the back at times this year.
Is the Interest in Garay a Good Thing?
Now the question becomes whether United—needing new defenders—should be looking for a potential deal for Garay or not this summer. And again, the answer to that is a resounding yes.
The Argentinian international is a very strong defender who offers certain skills on the ball that are rarely seen from central defenders. He is technically very sound, moves exceptionally well and rarely concedes errors inside his own defensive third when bringing the ball out.
At 6'4", Garay also has the aerial strength to make him a premier defender in the English competition, which loves to utilize crosses and aerial balls.
United have struggled in this regard over the years—particularly through Ferdinand—and Garay would be a huge improvement in this regard.
Early reports have suggested that a deal between United and Benfica is likely to reach between £15-17 million, which is perhaps a little more than teams would usually pay for defenders. However, at 26-years-old, Garay has plenty of years ahead of him to make that figure worth it and has the technical skill required to prove worth of such a price tag.
So is the Deal Done, or Not?
On this one, it's hard to say yes to a deal being done for United.
No big media outlets in England have run with the deal taking place yet, and neither have any big outlets throughout Spain, though Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing the defender as well.
United are usually very tight about which players they'll be looking to buy in the summer and rarely conduct any official business outside of the transfer window. That's not to say that they aren't trying to buy players outside of the window, they just don't let those interests known until the window is opened, and they can move swiftly to buy the players they want.
We saw with the Lucas Moura transfer saga last year that hometown reports are incredibly difficult to take for granted sometimes, and that we shouldn't embrace a deal as "done" until it officially is done.
There's no doubt that United are interested in Garay, and given the rumors, it's highly likely that they'll make a strong summer push for him. He is a great player that could be a huge signing at Old Trafford—one to change the balance of power in the Premier League once more.
But to suggest that a deal is already done seems premature. It is, after all, only March, and the rumor mill has plenty more to offer us over the course of the year.
Garay said yesterday that no deal has taken place, and with United not forthcoming with information, it seems best we lean toward the negative.
I'd say expect a summer push for Garay from United and for the Red Devils to do their best to sign him, but I can't see that happening for a while. It certainly doesn't seem to be happening soon with a deal unlikely to have taken place between the two teams already.
Do you think Manchester United have signed/will sign Ezequiel Garay?
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