Manchester United's five Portugal based transfer targets

Nemanja Matic

Manchester United have been regularly linked with players from the Primera Liga, most regularly from Benfica or Porto.

Whether it be an active Portuguese press, or the fact chief scout Martin Ferguson spends a lot of his time in the country, or more likely a bit of both, Manchester United are linked with players from the Primera Liga not every week, but every day.

There is of course past precedent for this; you can't blame them for searching the country for the next Cristiano Ronaldo after the success he brought them, although recent additions of Anderson, Nani and Bebe have had differing and unconvincing success.

The constant reports indicate there is a good chance United are likely to make a move for at least one player from Portugal's top league this summer. But who? Here are the top five they have been linked with most recently: 

Ezequiel Garay

Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay was at one stage claimed to have been a 'done deal' for United, but this was later denied. The centre-back has since been linked with City, Real Madrid, and even today Porto, with his future clearly up for grabs. Garay is an Argentine international who at 26 is eight years younger than Rio Ferdinand, so the long-term benefits of the deal are clear. He would cost United around £15 million.

Nemanja Matic

Matic is an interesting one for United, because it would see Sir Alex Ferguson do what he so rarely does, sign a central midfielder. Matic is one in the destroyer mould, who also plays for Benfica, but has some spectacular long range strikes in his armoury. Matic is a former Chelsea player, sent the other way in the David Luiz deal, and was recently praised for his Europa League displays against Newcastle. He would cost a similar amount to Garay, but it's unlikely United would snap up both.

Alex Sandro

Porto left-back Sandro was linked to United last month, but a deal is only likely if United move on Patrice Evra. After a shaky start to the season, the Frenchman has regained his form, so this one may be for another season. Sandro like Matic is a scorer of some quite outrageous goals, and certainly would offer an attacking threat from the position. He played at the Olympics for Brazil in the opposite full-back spot to Rafael, and at 22 is a bright prospect.

James Rodriguez

Rodriguez is the most exciting and attacking player in the list, and one who is valued at more than £30 million. The winger has been compared to Chelsea's Eden Hazard, and has been racking up the goals and assists for Porto for two full seasons now. He is part of an exciting Colombia side tipped to be the surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, and would add an unpredictable and dynamic option to United's attack.

Eliaquim Mangala

Mangala is the Porto alternative to Ezequiel Garay, one who would be equally expensive but four years younger at 22. The tough tackling Frenchman once broke the foot of Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs playing for Standard Liege, and does not shy from a challenge. He is an outstanding prospect who is also interesting AC Milan, Tottenham, and Chelsea.

Also linked in the past: Sporting Lisbon's Eric Dier and Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan.

Who would you like to see United sign this summer?

images: © Jan Solo, © Yoca91

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