Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013

Manchester United have identified Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay as their preferred successor to Rio Ferdinand in the heart of the defence, according to Spanish daily Marca.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have been having the Argentine stopper, who joined Benfica from Real Madrid, watched on a regular basis – and they have been happy with what they have seen.

There is a difference of opinion over the fee to be paid for Garay however, which could yet scupper the deal.

Benfica are looking for around €30M for the stopper, while Manchester United have a figure closer to €15M in mind.


But given how seriously keen Manchester United are on Garay, with Ferguson’s having sent his brother Martin on numerous scouting trips to watch the player, a compromise agreement should be found.

Garay would only join the English giants in time for next season, with the current campaign being completed at Benfica.

The Argentine was snapped up by Real Madrid in 2008 and then sold on to Benfica in 2011.

Garay helped Benfica to the Portuguese League Cup last season, while this year he has his eye on the Portuguese league title.

Betting on the African Cup of Nations? Check out Inside Bet.