Garay has spoken candidly of what he considers to be substantial summer interest from United. A deal in the region of £18 million, reports Cross, was on the table, but Moyes cooled the club’s interest:
I believed I was going to join Manchester United in the summer. The deal was nearly closed but finally Benfica did not accept the offer.
I believe the exit of Ferguson has influenced the deal. Moyes did not believe in me as much but that's not a problem.
There are several reasons for why Moyes may have pulled the plug on Garay’s £18 million switch, not least the fact he needed to assess his squad before deciding where to strengthen.
The United boss has spent the majority of the season insisting he is learning about his players, so it is likely he would not have been keen to sanction an £18 million outlay for a player wanted by the former regime.
Looking at United’s squad on paper, the central defensive area is well-stocked. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for support, so an extra body was not a pressing concern.
Having seen Ferdinand’s start to the campaign, which has included poor performances against Manchester City and West Brom, Garay’s presence has arguably been missed by the champions.
However, Moyes’ summer transfer activity—in addition to his reported January targets—suggests he has identified more concerning weaknesses elsewhere in the United squad.
The Scot spent all summer trying to lure a ball-playing playmaker, missing out on Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera. He landed Marouane Fellaini but clearly wanted another for his midfield.
Now Moyes is being linked to another attacking midfielder in Remy Cabella of Montpellier—per Jamie Sanderson of Metro—so it is likely he felt the price tag proposed for Garay could be better spent elsewhere.
Garay, at the age of 27, is finally reaching maturity and showing the technical excellence he always promised as one of Europe’s highest-rated young defenders at Real Madrid.
At 6’4” the Argentinian is a domineering presence who can play from the back, although it is questionable he represents a better long-term option than Smalling, who appears to be the ideal replacement for Ferdinand when the veteran eventually retires.