Breaking Football transfer news and stories from the Premiership, including Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Everton - updated daily with the latest football news.
Man Utd transfer news: Garay deal edges closer
25th June 2013 10:59am BST
Manchester United's summer spending spree shows no sign of slowing, with the club understood to be in advanced negotiations with Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay.
United scouts were spotted at Benfica several times last season and it had been understood they were watching former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic.
However, SportsDirect News has learned the club were in fact keeping tabs on Garay and have identified the Argentina international centre-back as their number one target with which to strengthen their defence in preparation for next season.
New United boss David Moyes is believed to have judged last year's first-choice central defense pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand as being in need of quality cover.
Both Vidic and Ferdinand have suffered from injury in recent campaigns and concern is growing at the club over the decreasing likelihood of their both being able to perform at the highest level in coming years.
Garay, at 26, would provide a fresh injection of impetus and energy to the back four and is understood to be available for a fee in the region of £17 million.
He would be expected to bring the best out of the more senior centre-backs, providing compeition as a high-quality back-up, before being promoted into full-time first-team duties himself in the future.
United's pursuit of Garay follows that of Kevin Strootman, who appears set to join Old Trafford in an £18m deal from Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven.
SportsDirect News understands that the Manchester club will also chase the signature of Barcelona attacking midfielder Thiago, with reports suggesting that the player has already been offered a lucrative £5m salary at Old Trafford, as part of an £18m agreement with the Spanish club.
United have also been strongly linked with a move for Saint-Etienne's 18-year-old defender Kurt Zouma, who is currently on international duty at the Fifa U20 World Cup in Turkey with France.
Any deal for Zouma is therefore unlikely to be settled before the player's return to his country, but would be expected to be in the region of £10m.
Follow me on Twitter @foreign_fields