Manchester United overtaken in race for €20m Vidic replacement

Ezequiel Garay for Benfica

Linked with replacing Nemanja Vidic this summer, it seems that French side Monaco have joined the race for Benfica's Ezequiel Garay.

Argentine international and Benfica central defender Ezequiel Garay has been constantly linked with a move to Manchester United, but it looks like David Moyes has another challenger in the battle for the 27-year-old's signature. Reports in France are linking AS Monaco with a move for the former Real Madrid defender.

The defender was watched by the French club last weekend against Belenenses, this was the second time the Monegasque club has cast their eye over the player recently, and they apparently had a scout in the stands for the match against Sporting Lisbon on February the 11th. It seems Monaco are serious in strengthening their squad for the Champions League next season.

This season Claudio Ranieri has put a lot of trust in the experienced duo of Eric Abidal and Ricardo Carvalho, but as steady as the two veterans have been, their limit is peaked at Ligue 1. When it comes to taking on Europe's best, they need to have better centre-backs in place.

They brought in the very talented Aymen Abdennour on loan from Toulouse in January, and they have the option to make that deal permanent for €15 million this summer, and it looks like Garay has been identified as the perfect partner for the Tunisian centre-back.

Garay fits Monaco’s profile perfectly. The Argentine has 18 caps for his country and has played in both the Champions and Europa League from his time with Real Madrid and Benfica. He was also part of the Argentine U20 side that won the World Cup in 2005, alongside Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi.

There is a great chance that Garay will be part of the Argentina squad that goes to Brazil this summer for the World Cup, and any side that wants to do business will want to get in there before the tournament gets underway. This is where Monaco has a slight advantage.

The player currently has the same agent as current ASM players Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, Carvalho and former player Costinha. The infamous Jorge Mendes will be well placed to discuss his client's options to the Monaco hierarchy, and with his current contract expiring in 2015, now would be the best time for Benfica to do business.

images: © Alface, © Alface

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