In a bid to bolster the clubs defensive options, Manchester United’s manager Louis van Gaal has been linked with yet another centre-back. Ezequiel Garay who switched from Benfica to Zenith St Petersburg only this summer for about £12m and it still remains to be seen if the Russian outfit will even consider any bid for the Argentine.
The defender caught the Manchester United manager’s fancy about 9 years ago when he was a member of the Argentine youth team that won the Under-20 Championship in Holland. More so, van Gaal got to see more of Garay while he was partnering United’s new boy Marcos Rojo in the Argentine national team at the World Cup in Brazil.
When Didier Drogba rose high enough to power in the opener against Manchester United last weekend, it obviously was a miscalculation on the part of van Gaal’s centre-backs and now the Dutch boss is more determined to shore up his defence by January. In fact with the news emanating from some quarters in Manchester, many are said to believe that he could even be a better buy than the much discussed Mats Hummels. Now, Manchester United fans have heard a lot about Hummels and might even know more about the German than his mother but how much do they know about Ezequiel Garray? Well, here are five facts about Manchester United’s target.
- In the last five years, Garray has played 97 club matches in three different clubs. Between July 2009 and August 2011, he featured nine times for Real Madrid scoring a single goal. The Argentine enjoyed a better spell when he moved to Portuguese outfit Benfica in the summer of 2011 appearing 78 times before he agreed to move to Zenit around June this year, he has till date appeared 10 times for the Russian side.
- At 1.86 m tall, the Argentine’s height will be important to the defensive section at least to deal with crosses and set pieces. He will also shoulder some of the responsibilities that Nemanja Vidic used to handle. More so, with the experience he has garnered from playing in about three different leagues, he will show leadership to most of the upcoming defenders that Louis van Gaal currently has.
- In his 10 games for Zenit, the defender has an average pass accuracy of 90%, created four chances, won 51% of his duels and completed passes totalling 21metres. So far this season, of all Manchester United’s defenders only Marcos Rojo has a report this encouraging and given the fact that they both had a wonderful partnership at the World Cup, Manchester United might be set for another Ferdinand-Vidic combination.
- Garray played under José Mourinho at Real Madrid and was in fact the forth-choice stopper in the 2010-2011. He appeared in five league games and another two in that season’s Spanish Cup against FC Barcelona where the Madrid giants got an extra-time win.
- In 2005, Garray won the under-20s tournament with the Argentine’s youth team. He played alongside Sergio Aguero, Oscar Ustari, Fernando Gago and Lionel Messi.