Manchester United Transfer News: Ezequiel Garay a Must-Sign for Red Devils

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13:  Ezequiel Garay of Benfica clears the ball from Younes Kaboul of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and SL Benfica at White Hart Lane on March 13, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Manchester United's necessary summer rebuild draws ever closer as the Premier League season reaches its latter stages, and Benfica centre-back Ezequiel Garay should be on their wanted list.

A very shaky defence has been just one of the startling features of this season's poor United side, and with Nemanja Vidic on his way out of Old Trafford in the summer, reinforcements are needed.

It also seems likely that Rio Ferdinand will retire at the end of the season, and with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones not wholly convincing, Garay's quality would be hugely beneficial at the back.

And there is certainly interest from David Moyes and the powers that be at Old Trafford.

As reported by Darren Lewis in the Daily MirrorUnited have been tracking the Argentine: 

Manchester United and Chelsea sent scouts to Benfica's Stadium of Light on Thursday night to watch defender Ezequiel Garay.

The 27-year-old Argentine scored the opening goal as Benfica beat Spurs on aggregate to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

His central defensive partnership at the other end of the field, however - with Brazilian Luisao - has been pivotal as the club close in on the Portuguese title.

United are long-term admirers of Garay, but the Argentine blamed last summer's instability for his Old Trafford move falling through and there is now likely to be a summer battle for the player who is open to a move to the Premier League.

United will certainly face competition for his signature, but they must try to bring him in, because a stronger defence would be a perfect platform on which to build a better side.

Benfica currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Portuguese league and have conceded only 15 goals in 23 games this season.

Conversely, United have let in 34 goals in 29 league games, including humiliating defeats such as last week's 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool and September's 4-1 loss to Manchester City.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

The Old Trafford side will not be able to compete with the best again until they shore things up at the back.

Garay has proven he can play at the top level with Benfica and in his 18 senior caps for Argentina, including nine caps in their World Cup qualifying campaign, per

As well as his solidity defensively, the 27-year-old is more than adequate going forward and has contributed nine goals in his 73 league appearances for Benfica, per

Although United could conceivably rely on Smalling, Jones and Jonny Evans to take up the centre-back mantle next season, this would be a dangerous plan.

While all are potentially high-quality players, they have yet to prove it on a regular basis. Garay could be a terrific influence and partner for these players at Old Trafford.

United have gone after the former Real Madrid man in the past with a deal very nearly completed last year.

They cannot afford to miss out again.


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