Manchester United have agreement with Benfica over next signing

Last updated : 12 June 2013 By Ed

Manchester United have a “Gentlemen’s agreement” in place to sign Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay according to the latest press reports.

The fee is believed to be in the region of £17m. Half of that fee will be passed back to Real Madrid, who according to rumours were keen to bring Garay back to the Bernabeu earlier last season.

The Argentine international was one of Benfica’s top performers last season, albeit in a team that won no silverware – though many feel that they were robbed by Chelsea in the Europa Cup Final.

The signing will add quality to arguably one of United’s strongest departments, with Ferdinand, Vidic, Smalling, Jones and Evans already making progression difficult for one of United’s youngsters – Michael Keane. Keane was a key figure in United’s successful FA Youth Cup winning team of 2011 and is one that is earmarked for a bright future at the club.

Maybe David Moyes has cast his mind back to the opening game of last season when, despite such riches, United pitched up at Goodison Park with Michael Carrick filling in at centre-half. A factor that undoubtedly helped Mario Fellaini power a header in for a 1-0 victory.

Garay began his career at Racing Santander in 2005, before moving to Real Madrid where he was immediately loaned back to Racing. In his last season at Real Madrid he made only five appearances under Jose Mourinho who saw Garay as his fourth choice centre-half.

Garay is a tall and imposing centre-half standing 6ft 4in tall. He has throughout his career had an eye for the goal, with his best return being 9 goals in the 2006-07 season for Racing Santander.

In what is presumed to be his  final season at Benfica, Garay was the mainstay of the team with 41 appearances.