The 26-year-old Argentine, former of Real Madrid, is reportedly a target of United whilst United captain Nemanja Vidic has been linked with a move away – most notably to AC Milan.
Vidic came out and dismissed these rumours which will have been a relief to Red Devils fans but, if he is staying, ought he be worried about his status in new manager David Moyes’ team?
The Serbian is, first and foremost, an exceptionally talented defender and, as the skipper, surely indispensable to the club but he’s 31 now and wasn’t anywhere near his best last term.
He helped United reclaim the Premier League title, of course, but he was out injured for a spell and, in the meantime, both Jonny Evans and youngster Phil Jones emerged as solid, reliable and quality centre-backs under Sir Alex Ferguson.
I very much doubt that Moyes will want to ruffle any feathers – in all honesty I would expect he’ll endeavor to keep the ship at Old Trafford as steady as possible, given that United are champions and he’ll be under enough pressure as it is to fill the boots of Ferguson.
Rio Ferdinand will be 35 before the end of this year and, despite signing a contract extension to keep him on board for another year at least, he is far into the twilight of his career now.
Evans, however, is only 25 continually improving and really hitting his stride. Chris Smalling is still only 23, despite having been reared as a first-team fringe player since arriving from Fulham in 2010.
Jones is looking like a future England captain – Ferguson described him as a ‘monster’ and he is undoubtedly the best young player at the club, aged just 21. That’s five centre-backs in a 25-man squad and, if Garay arrives, six.
Surely one of them either has to go out or face uncertainty over their access to regular first-team football? I would, in the case that Garay comes in which is still just a rumour at present, expect that Smalling is the weakest link of the current five and, subsequently, by default would have the most to worry about.
Nemanja Vidic is the captain, Ferdinand is part of the furniture, Evans has improved to become one of the best in the league and Jones is one of the most exciting prospects in the country.
Should Nemanja Vidic be concerned about his position at Manchester United? Well, not this season, perhaps but next summer, if another top quality defender comes in like Ezequiel Garay, he may find himself in danger of sliding down the pecking order – especially if his form and fitness dips even just slightly.
image: © nasmac