Did international boss save Man United's chance to sign €20m defender?

Ezequiel Garay for Benfica

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella may have preserved Manchester United’s chances of landing Ezequiel Garay.

The Red Devils’ pursuit of the Benfica defender dominated column inches last summer, a deal looking imminent until David Moyes opted to instead work with the back-line at his disposal.

Garay would later state that he believed an Old Trafford switch was indeed on the cards, only for the incoming manager to lack the conviction in his qualities to sanction the transfer at a premium price.

At this point the Scot’s decision to call off the move seems just another mark against him in what’s been a turbulent campaign - especially considering Nemanja Vidic’s impending departure and uncertainty surrounding the future of the club’s back line.

And if United harboured ambitions at reigniting their interest in Garay come summer they looked out of luck over the past six weeks as cash-flush Zenit looked ever closer to swooping for his services.

In a long-due stroke of good fortune for the beleaguered champions of England, however, the Russian transfer window has now closed - with the 27-year-old still at Benfica.

And according to A Bola, Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella had a measure of influence over the centre-back’s stay at the Estadio da Luz.

The Portuguese newspaper has contended that Sabella advised his countryman to remain in his current environs with the World Cup looming just around the corner.

Garay is a mainstay at the heart of the Albiceleste back line and the coach will be keep to have in peak form when the showpiece event in Brazil rolls around.

As such, Sabella reportedly expressed concern about the destabilising effect moving to a new country and league in such close proximity to the tournament could have on one of his key men in defence.

A Bola maintain that the man at the helm’s assessment had a definitive impact on Garay’s remaining in Portugal - Benfica also not convinced to sell a star player ahead of the run-in, currently sitting top of the Primeira Liga.

In turn Sabella may just have been the force at play keeping alive United’s chances of bringing the Argentina international to Old Trafford on a second look.

Should he perform well in Brazil his price - it’s believed the Mancunians offered €20m prior to Sir Alex Ferguson’s withdrawal from the bench - could rise significantly as Benfica are no pushovers on the transfer market.

But if Moyes is indeed convinced that Garay is the man needed one summer on from overlooking him - United may just owe Sabella a small debt of gratitude for some indirect assistance.

image: © Alface

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