The Benfica defender has been repeatedly linked with a switch to Old Trafford, and has stated David Moyes pulled the plug on a summer move.
David Moyes and the powers that be at Manchester United have come in for severe criticism over their summer inadequacies in the transfer market, with the Premier League champions’ only significant off-season addition that of Marouane Fellaini.
Speculation was rife that United would add a number of international-calibre players to their squad before the close of the transfer window, but Moyes and co found the going tough.
One name repeatedly linked with a switch to Old Trafford has been Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay. Sir Alex Ferguson was believed to be a big admirer of the South American stopper, who has impressed for the Portuguese giants domestically and on the continent over the last 24 months.
The Argentina international has come out in the press and revealed that he believed that a move to United was close, but Moyes opted not to bring him to England.
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both out of contract in the summer and the club in transition, there is certainly an argument that a new centre-half could be added to Moyes’ contingent. But would Garay have been an improvement on the ageing pair’s current replacements at the club?
Garay certainly has imposed himself on the Benfica team, and his presence and strength at the heart of the Estadio da Luz side has been a telling feature in his time in Portugal.
The 26-year-old has a turn of pace, is accomplished on the ball and is a ferocious tackler. It is only natural that Garay has been linked with a switch to a bigger club in one of the major European leagues, and if he moved to Old Trafford he has all the attributes to be a success.
Taking Vidic and Ferdinand out of the equation, United have three centre halves ready to vie it out for a long-term starting berth in Moyes’ side.
Phil Jones has proven himself to have similar physical abilities to Garay, but has suffered from injuries in his time at United. His versatility has seen him used at full-back and in midfield, but in the long term his best position is certainly at the heart of defence.
Jonny Evans is maybe the least glamorous of United’s centre halves, but he is a no-nonsense stopper with a good amount of experience at the club. A more traditional defender with good positional sense and strong marking abilities, the Northern Irishman just needs a run of games under Moyes to prove his worth.
Chris Smalling is something of an unproven entity, who has again suffered from injury of late and is still getting back to his best. Again used at right-back on as many occasions as he is utilised in his favourite role of centre half, the former Fulham man is still to really find his feet at Old Trafford.
There is no doubt that Garay would add to the attributes already at the club, especially given that the likes of Jones and Smalling can be used in other positions. With United’s defence looking less than secure this season to date, Moyes’ decision not to bring Garay to Old Trafford could well be a mistake.
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