Benfica enjoyed an outstanding and much-needed 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Monday evening.
Given how close it is in the race for the Portuguese league title, the victory cannot be understated, with Jorge Jesus’s side now five points clear of last night’s opponents and four clear of second-placed FC Porto.
Reported Manchester United targets were again on show, with Nicolas Gaitan opening the scoring and Ezequiel Garay helping his side to a clean-sheet.
And it is the latter whose future remains something of a mystery, given that Zenit St. Petersburg reportedly had an offer of €10million rejected for the Argentine in recent days.
With the Russian transfer window still open, Zenit have been consistently linked with Garay, with some suggestions that the player is holding out for a move to Old Trafford after a much-mooted deal failed to materialise last summer.
And now Garay’s manager has had his say, in quotes published by Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
“What I liked is that no other player left,” Jesus is quoted as saying, but in response to the continuing rumours he added, “What is needed is that we play with 11.”
In other words, as O Jogo’s headline states, if Garay leaves, another will take his place.
“In the second third of the league, Garay returned to his form,” he added. “Our defensive processes have improved.”
Given how close it is in the Primeira Liga, surely Jesus will want Garay to remain at least until the summer.
If he does not, someone will step up. But if he does not head to Russia this month, United fans could finally see a player consistently linked with them finally arrive in place of the departing Nemanja Vidic.
image: © jansolo09