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Manchester United are unlikely to bid for Ezequiel Garay

Manchester United's interest in Ezequiel Garay appears to be a strange rumour, and there are no reports of United's scouts seeing him since January.

Jamie McDonald

While we're all drooling over the prospect of Manchester United signing Thiago or Cesc Fabregas, or Cristiano Ronaldo returning to United, we should dedicate some time to the more "meh" transfer stories of the window, and firmly in that category is one Ezequiel Garay, of Benfica.

The rumour is an odd one, with the defender not possessing any real world-class ability and Manchester United being well-stocked in that position and needing to buy elsewhere. £17m is not a small fee, and it seems insane that we'd squander such a large portion of our budget on getting the deal done.

Furthermore, one under-reported aspect of the story is this: There have been no reports of United's scouts watching Garay since January. Not a single one - before that, the Portuguese media were all over the story every time suits from the club turned up at a Benfica game, and the English press were quick to repeat them, but since then there's been nothing, and United haven't taken an interest.

One theory for this is that United have seen enough and made their mind up, and thus don't need to scout anymore, but that's not how we operate. We still had scouts watching Wilfried Zaha after he'd already signed for us, let alone after we'd made the decision to move for him. If United were serious about spending £17m on a defender, they'd not let him go unwatched for six months before making a move. It doesn't add up. United's scouts were certainly there before, but they stopped taking an interest, and around the same time the suggestions that Rio Ferdinand would sign a new deal started to appear. It's possible he was a backup option, or even that we were looking at other Benfica players and never had much of an interest.

So why the fuss? Well, Garay is of course a client of Jorge Mendes, who has a fairly colourful relationship with our club. It's hard to see where these new stories are coming from, but it wouldn't be surprising if someone was trying to force a move or launch a bidding war. Perhaps, like most of Mendes' clients this year, he'll end up at AS Monaco. Perhaps he won't. But the possibility of United signing him seems highly overstated.