Benfica are unwilling to sell Ezequiel Garay without a fight.
With Nemanja Vidic announcing his intention to depart Manchester United at the end of the season, the decision not to pull the trigger on a move for Ezequiel Garay last summer is looking short-sighted.
Not only would they have avoided the upcoming scramble for replacements this summer, but they could have had a centre-back with a point to prove in their line-up, rather than a player on a season long swansong.
A deal was reportedly agreed with Benfica in principle at €20 million before Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, but David Moyes preferred to assess the squad at his disposal rather than bring in new players.
Now as the summer approached and United's need for a new centre-back is made official via Vidic's announcement, they could miss out on Garay altogether.
The Argentine is subject of interest from Russian giants Zenit St Peterburg, with the Russian transfer window open until February 27.
Benfica are currently resisting and trying to keep hold of the former Real Madrid defender, but the matter is not over yet.
Russian outlet Sportbox.ru reported Benfica have rejected a €10 million bid from Zenit to sign Garay over the past 48 hours.
With Benfica facing Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Cup on Tuesday night, further talks have been postponed until after that, but the report states they will resume.
Benfica sold Nemanja Matic to Chelsea in the transfer window, and are willing sellers of their stars at the right price, but quite reasonably they feel Garay is under-priced. They have dealt with Zenit in the recent past, selling them midfielder Axel Witsel in 2012.
The defender previously stated his intention was to remain with Benfica until after the World Cup, where he hopes to attract more suitors with his performances.
Zenit appear determined to land the defender however, and with over a fortnight remaining of the transfer window, there could well be more to develop in this one - and Garay will therefore be off United's shopping list for the summer if so.
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