Ezequiel Garay has said that he is fully focused on playing for Benfica despite speculation continuing to link him with a summer move to Manchester United.
There have been consistent reports in recent months claiming that United have regularly sent scouts to watch the Argentina center-back with a view to a £15 million transfer at the end of the season. Indeed in the past few days, the Daily Mirror has reported that United are stepping up their pursuit of Garay having been made aware of Chelsea’s interest in the 26-year-old.
According to the story, Garay is keen on joining United, despite interest also thought to be coming from Barcelona. The player, however, has attempted to cool the rumors.
“I still have two years left on this contract with Benfica, and now I just think about that and it is the only commitment I have in my head,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
"I know nothing of United and Barca, I am just thinking about Benfica."
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With Rio Ferdinand’s contract set to expire in the summer and doubts about Nemanja Vidic’s fitness, a new defender could well feature prominently in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans in the close season. According to the Daily Star United are also monitoring Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.
The France Under-21 international is said to be valued at £20 million, although he is also drawing interest from Tottenham, Manchester City and Milan. Mangala joined Porto from Belgian club Standard Liege in 2011 and has made 25 appearances this season.
The Daily Mail asserts that Manchester United are also looking to Porto to replace left-back Patrice Evra. It is believed that Brazil international Alex Sandro is being looked at as a possible successor to the 31-year-old.
Evra’s form had begun to decline, but this season he has been more consistent. Doubts still remain, however, about his defensive dependability.
Alex Sandro, 22, was reportedly watched in Porto’s Champions League exit to Malaga. Other options are also though likely to be assessed, with United long linked with a deal for Everton’s Leighton Baines, although a reported asking price of at least £15 million for the England international may prevent a move.
To complete the Porto theme, Talksport reports that Manchester United are interested in a third player from the Portuguese champions in Jackson Martinez. The Colombia international has made a big impression since moving to Portugal last summer having scored 26 goals in 31 appearances this season.
Unsurprisingly that prolific record has seen Martinez linked host of Europe’s top clubs, including Milan, Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool, as well as United.
The 26-year-old has a €40 million (£34m) release clause in his contract and Porto are known as tough negotiators when selling players.