‘Virtually all the top clubs wanted him’ - Reported United target’s new boss speaks

Ezequiel Garay for Benfica

Long-time Manchester United target was wanted by a number of top clubs prior to his move to Zenit according to his new manager.

Ezequiel Garay was a wanted man according to his new manager at Zenit St Petersburg Andre Villas-Boas.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss was talking following the Argentine centre-back’s agreement to join Zenit from Benfica for a reported €15million.

Garay had long been linked with Manchester United, with some reports claiming a deal was all but done last summer before then-boss David Moyes pulled the plug.

True or not, United are in far more need of a centre-back this summer than they were 12 months ago, with both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic moving on.

But Garay will not be the answer, with the 27-year-old moving to Russia this summer. And in quotes published by Portuguese newspaper A Bola, his new boss Villas-Boas revealed the player had plenty of suitors.

“Garay is a player who has long been followed by Zenit and I always liked him,” Villas-Boas said.

“Already in January the club had shown interest in him. But when I arrived I asked the director to accelerate negotiations and that allowed us to hire a fantastic player. Virtually all the top clubs wanted him, but he chose Zenit.”

It remains to be seen whether United maintained an interest in the Argentina international this summer. But if Villas-Boas is correct in his assertion, a player who was a regular in the rumour-mill for many years had attracted a number of quality suitors.

United fans can only hope that having not signed Garay, Louis van Gaal signs the centre-backs who can replace two of the best in the club’s history.

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