United face competition from Chelsea and Barcelona for Garay

Sir Alex Ferguson still hopes to land Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay, but faces stiff competition from the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona, reports The Mirror.

With reports earlier this week that Premier League rivals Chelsea have locked their sights on Garay, Man United have decided to act quickly to land the 6’4 defender, and negotiations are believed to have begun as the Red Devils and Benfica seek to thrash out the terms of a reported £15m transfer.

The 26-year-old has been identified as a long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand, and the Argentina international is also thought to prefer a move to Old Trafford ahead of Stamford Bridge or Camp Nou.

With Ferdinand showing signs of his advancing years and Nemanja Vidic suffering an injury-plagued spell, Ferguson has been keen to ensure that the champions-elect’s defensive options do not suffer a major blow should one of their regular stoppers experience a lengthy absence.

Ideally, it is believed that Garay’s style of football would likely help him form an effective defensive partnership with 31-year-old Serbian international Vidic. The Mirror’s scouting report on Garay, however, speculates that money may yet prove an obstacle, however.

With Real Madrid reportedly due 50% of Garay’s selling-on fee, and 10% of the player’s contract having been bought by a third party in September 2011, Ferguson is hoping that Benfica won’t be pricing the player out of a move that appears to be in all corner’s best interests.

The former Real Madrid defender has made 45 appearances for Benfica since joining the Portuguese outfit in 2011, scoring 3 goals.

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