Of all Manchester United's 'near-deals' in the summer, Ezequiel Garay was reportedly one of the closest, even said to have gone house hunting in the city.
A change of manager scuppered an agreement between United and Benfica, with David Moyes keen to see what he already had to work with at centre-back instead.
Garay's future remains a hot topic, with the 27-year-old Argentine a key player in the side, even scoring already twice from the back this season.
He continues to give Benfica fans cause for concern off the pitch with regards to his future however, amid reports he does not want to sign a new deal.
Garay's present contract expires in June 2015, and the ex-Real Madrid player is keen to explore his options, seemingly having being focused on a move away this past summer.
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo report:
"Linked to Benfica only for another season and a half, so by the end of 2014/15, it is unlikely that Garay remains with an Eagle to the chest until then. This is one of the most coveted players in the whole squad and also one with one of the lower release clauses, 20 million euros, with Real Madrid entitled to 50 percent of the future sale of their former player.
"In addition, the Argentine is one of the highest paid in the squad managed by Jorge Jesus and board do not believe they have the ability to renew the contract, further increasing the salary budget.
"However, and above all this, the plans of the no. 24 point to his presence in the World Cup next year, where he hopes to show his qualities and then go to the doors of the European giants that will be open, he can choose where to make the leap."
Garay's determination to leave will have his agent working hard on deals not just with United, but trying to attract others too. Chelsea, with who Benfica have a positive working relationship, are also said to have previously expressed an interest.
With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand's contracts expiring next summer and futures no clearer, United would do well in January to beat the rush next summer for his signature and meet the €20 million release clause.
What do you think? Should United go for Garay in January?
image: © Jan Solo