Rafa Benitez aims to beat Manchester United to €20m star

Ezequiel Garay 2

Is long-term Manchester United target Ezequiel Garay heading to Napoli?

Of all the players who got close to playing for Manchester United this summer, Ezequiel Garay was probably the nearest miss.

The Argentine was subject of a 'gentleman's agreement' between the Red Devils and Benfica, only for United to make a u-turn after changing manager, with David Moyes preferring to explore his current centre-back options.

Garay's contract expires in 2015, and so Benfica are keen to find a club to pay his €20 million release clause either in January or next summer.

Manchester City were recently linked with the defender, while United could reignite their interest with neither Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic yet tied down to new contracts, which both expire next summer.

The duo will now face competition however, according to reports from Italy that Rafa Benitez' Napoli will enter the market for Garay.

Tuttomercato report exclusively that there are 'ongoing discussions' between Napoli and Benfica regarding Garay's signature, describing him as a 'concrete idea' for the Champions League side.

Argentine international Garay recently commented that he expected to move on next summer, and would use the World Cup to put himself in the shop window. 

With clubs competing for his signature, Chelsea also considered to have him on their radar, don't be surprised to see one side take the plunge and make an offer for him in January instead.

image: © Jan Solo

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