Argentine identified as man to marshall Man Utd’s defence

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Manchester United’s quest to find some steel to shore up a flimsy-looking backline has led Louis van Gaal to target a January swoop for Argentina and Zenit St Petersburg centre-back Ezequiel Garay.

As United’s Sunday teatime showdown with league leaders Chelsea draws closer – where the only place to get the betting insight that matters is the brand new Ladbrokes Life Lowdown – reports suggest scouts were sent to watch Garay perform for Zenit against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

Garay is an international teammate of United’s new utility defender Marcos Rojo, whom he played alongside in the World Cup.

However, while Van Gaal has designs on making Rojo a left-back once he can properly shuffle his pack, 28-year-old Garay is a pure centre-back with a hard-man reputation.

Not overly enamoured with the selection of central defenders he inherited, such as Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, the Dutchman believes Garay will go some way to replacing former captain Nemanja Vidic as a leader to command others around him.

There is bound to be resistance from Zenit who only signed Garay from Benfica this summer for £12m, after he had helped Benfica to a league and couple double and successive Europa League finals.

Nevertheless, Van Gaal thinks the deal can be pushed through in the next window and is bound to get support from the money men at Old Trafford who’ve backed their new manager to the hilt so far.

The former Bayern Munich boss’ current crop of defenders are sure to get their sternest test yet when Chelsea arrive this Sunday, having scored in every game they’ve played, dropping only two points from eight games.

Van Gaal’s men are priced at 2/1 for the win, while a clean sheet is a 27/10 shot with Ladbrokes.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.