Ezequiel Garay has signed for Manchester United according to Spanish publication Marca after a €20 million buyout clause was activated.
The 26-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford for the whole season after an impressive two seasons with Benfica and Marca now believe he has agreed to join United.
Marca, who have an extremely close relationship with Real Madrid, are usually fairly reliable on all things to do with Carlo Ancelotti’s men and with the club set to profit 50% of any transfer fee received for the Benfica defender, Marca are likely to be informed on the progress of the deal.
Many saw Garay following an unofficial Manchester United account on Twitter as a public hint being dropped over where the 26-year-old centre back would be plying his trade next season, and reports in Spain have been backed up with claims from other media outlets on the continent.
O Jogo refer to British articles stating that the deal is ‘close,’ while fellow Portuguese outfit Record have been adamant Garay will be joining United since way back in March.
With Rio Ferdinand approaching the twilight of his career and question marks remaining over Nemanja Vidic’s injury record, a centre-back could be high on David Moyes’ agenda.
Garay is very much seen as a defender in the Rio Ferdinand mould; an expert at reading the game and sweeping rather than flying into tackles. As such, he may be seen as an excellent partner to Jonny Evans in the medium term with both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling a way off of being the finished article.
An apparent loosening of the purse-strings this summer could see a number of positions strengthened as United seek to retain the Premier League and make a greater impact in Europe, and the club could certainly do worse than Garay who had an extremely consistent 2012/13 with Benfica.