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Manchester giants set to battle it out for Benfica star

Manchester City and Manchester United are set to battle it out for Argentine centre-back Ezequiel Garay.

The Benfica defender is high on the list of January transfer targets for both Manchester sides after impressing for the Portuguese club in the Champions League this season.

The Argentine has played in all five of their Group C matches and has established himself as a regular in his country’s starting line-up.

“It will be my first World Cup if I get called up so I’m really excited,” he said recently and the 27-year-old may feel that a move to a bigger club could help cement his international place.

Ezequiel Garay scored nine times in his first La Liga season

In a recent interview with Benfica TV he explained: “I have learned a lot since I came to Benfica and I am very happy at the club.”

However we all know that players move on and Benfica have a history of selling their top players for big sums of money.

In recent years the Lisbon side have received 40 million Euros for Axel, 33 million Euros for Angel Di Maria, 30 million Euros for Fabio Coentrao and 25 million Euros for David Luiz.

Both Manchester clubs are prepared to spend huge sums on players and indeed it would be no surprise if big-spending Chelsea were to join the hunt.

Chelsea signed Ramires and David Luiz from Benfica

Mourinho’s side have signed the Brazilians David Luiz and Ramires from Benfica in the past and the Portugeuse boss will be well aware of Garay’s ability.

The defender started his career in Argentina with Newell’s Old Boys but moves to Spain aged 19.

First with Racing Santander and then Real Madrid, he made his name as a defender with an eye for goal; he scored nine in his first season in La Liga.

He moved to Benfica for 5.5 million Euros in the summer of 2011, initially as part of the deal that took Coentrao to Madrid.

With interest across Europe high, it looks like he could be on his travels once again in January.