Manchester United made yet another scouting mission to watch Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay in action for Argentina against Sweden last week, according to Portuguese sports daily O Jogo. There have been strong reports in recent weeks that Garay features prominently in Sir Alex Ferguson’s thoughts as he seeks a replacement for Rio Ferdinand. The 34-year-old’s contract is set to expire in the summer.
Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to have deployed scouts to watch the 26-year-old on several occasions this season, with O Jogo claiming United are now preparing a firm proposal.
Garay is believed to have a release clause of €20 million (£17m) and United may well have to pay that amount to secure the center-back. After struggling to make an impact with Real Madrid, Garay has impressed with Portuguese Liga leaders Benfica since joining them in the summer of 2011.
There has also been further discussion over the weekend of long-time reported Manchester United target Christian Eriksen. After years of speculation linking him with moves to a host of Europe’s big clubs, the Denmark international, who turns 21 this month, could be set to leave Ajax this summer.
Ajax technical director Marc Overmars has revealed that Eriksen is not prepared to extend his current contract, which is set to expire in the summer of 2014.
"Christian has informed us that he doesn't want to sign a new contract right now," Overmars told Sporten.dk. "I think he and his agent want to see what opportunities present themselves this summer."
Eriksen’s agent, Martin Schoots has confirmed Overmars’s claims.
"Anything Marc or Christian have said about it is correct, but we've agreed that we don't want to talk about the speculation too much,” he said in BNB. “Christian wants to focus solely on football and not so much on his future."
Ajax are unlikely to want to risk losing Erikson on a free transfer in 2014 and so a move could be a real possibility this summer.
However, according to ESPN, reports in Denmark now claim that Manchester United’s interest in the attacking midfielder has waned. Liverpool are believed to be the current front runners.
A move to Old Trafford for Eriksen has looked unlikely since Ferguson signed Shinji Kagawa last summer.
There have, however, been suggestions that Manchester United have an interest in Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic.
The Montenegrin’s agent was coy when asked about United’s supposed admiration for his client.
"It is not for me to say, but United is world-renowned club, like Juventus,” Alessandro Luci told TuttoMercatoWeb. “So it is normal that it is followed by this kind of teams."
Vucinic’s future is currently the source of speculation, with Juventus having already agreed the arrival of striker Fernando Llorente this summer.
But Luci said that Vucinic is not apprehensive about the Spaniard’s arrival.
"Absolutely not,” he said. “Should they get other offensive players it would not only be a good thing for him, but also for a team that for years wants to be considered one of the world’s best. [Coach Antonio] Conte believes Vucinic is key for his way of playing. He scores and creates chances for his teammates.”
Vucinic, 29, has scored six goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.
Finally, the Daily Star has claimed that Frank Lampard is considering a contract proposal from Manchester United. Despite reports last week, it appears that the 34-year-old has not been offered a new deal to keep him at Chelsea beyond this summer.
Ferguson is thought to be keen to sign the midfielder. According to the Star, Lampard is tempted by United’s offer of a one-year deal worth £65,000 a week with an option for a 12-month extension.