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United face competition for transfer target

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailManchester United could face competition from Napoli in the race to sign Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay, after Rafael Benitez has declared his intention to embark on a spending spree in January and has made strengthening his club’s back four a priority.

United have been following Garay for almost 18 months now, with first Sir Alex Ferguson and now David Moyes having identified the Argentine defender as one of the players needed to shore up a back four in which Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are nearing the end of their careers.

Reports suggest that United were happy to wait until the end of the season before making a formal move for the 27-year-old but, having watched on as Napoli increased their interest over the last couple of weeks, Moyes might be forced to act earlier than he would have thought, if he is not to miss out on yet another transfer target.

With Ferdinand yet to be offered a new contract, the chances of the United manager tabling an offer for the Benfica defender seem increasingly likely, particularly as Garay’s £17m release clause is unlikely to discourage Moyes, who can’t afford to dither in the transfer window after the dismal summer him and the club endured.

Garay, meanwhile, isn’t the only Argentina international to be linked with a move to Old Trafford as reports on one of today’s paper suggest United are closely monitoring Valencia’s Ever Banega, who could be the latest casualty of his club’s strict financial regime, which has seen them part ways with Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata over the last couple of seasons.

The 25-year-old is an extremely versatile midfielder and has often been deployed just in front of the back four for club and country, even though he’s just at ease when played further up the pitch as attacking midfielder.

The Argentine, who has scored once and assisted five goals in 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season, was watched three times by United’s scouts over the last couple of weeks, as Moyes hopes to beat Juventus, Southampton and Arsenal in the race to sign the Valencia midfielder.

Banega has already told his club that he will not extend his current deal, which expires in 2015, but Valencia are adamant that they’ll manage to hold on to their man until the summer, when they could be forced to accept a smaller fee than the £50m Banega’s release clause is set at, as the La Liga club face huge financial restrictions.