How good is Manchester United’s new “signing”

by Sam Peoples

According to reports from various media outlets including Mundo Deportivo and RecordManchester United have already made their first signing of the summer in Ezequiel Garay.

The 26-year-old defender has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United and reports have been surfacing all year of United sending scouts to watch Garay in action with Benfica. A recent switch to join forces with super agent Jorge Mendes, the agent responsible for helping bring Ronaldo to Old Trafford, only furthered the rumours.

Despite there being no official statement from either Benfica or United, Garay has commented on the situation and wouldn’t have joined up with Mendes if he wasn’t looking for a move away in the summer. So, how good is Garay and should United be interested in signing him?

garay-jerrad-petersGaray started his career at Argentinian outfit Newell’s Old Boys before joining Racing Santander in 2005. In his first full season for the La Liga side, he scored nine goals in 31 appearances, highlighting just how much technical ability he possessed. He was the second highest scoring central defender in Europe that season.

In 2008, Real Madrid secured his signature but immediately loaned him back out to Racing Santander. When Garay returned to Los Blancos, he found himself as fourth-choice and only made 25 appearances in two seasons before switching to Benfica in 2011 in a €5.5 million deal.

Since he joined Benfica, he has been a revelation. Alongside Brazilian powerhouse Luisao, he has adopted a sweeper role in the same mould as a Rio Ferdinand of old – a point made by Jerrad Peters of The Independent. Happy to bring the ball out from the back, Garay is brilliant at being a focal point at the start of an attack.

Comfortable in possession, strong in the air and intelligent with his passing, Garay is not your typical no nonsense defender. He is a cultured and rounded centre-back more attuned with the old school sweeper role that doesn’t exist in the modern game.

He has broken his way into the Argentinian national side and at 26, certainly has his best years ahead of him as a player – but is he really what Manchester United need? Given the fact that Real Madrid are set to receive 50% of his transfer fee, he certainly wouldn’t come cheap either.

Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Jones and Smalling. United have five fully fledged international centre backs on their books. Ferdinand and Vidic might be getting towards the twilight of their careers but Jones, Evans and Smalling are three of the most promising centre backs in the league.

What United need is a midfield enforcer, not another centre back. A player more in the mould of Victor Wanyama or Kevin Strootman would be a more appropriate signing for United. A season ending injury to Fletcher made United exclusively dependent on Carrick for controlling the midfield and it is something that needs to be addressed.

Despite his Wikipedia already stating that he has joined Manchester United, there has been no official statement so everything should be taken with a pinch of salt. It is unlikely that any deal has already been wrapped up and with Anderson potentially leaving at the end of the season, Ferguson needs to be looking at strengthening United’s midfield now more than ever.

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