David Moyes’ pre-season has not been a successful one, and Manchester United’s defence has looked sluggish and vulnerable at times - conceding 13 goals in only seven games.

There have been rumours of Benfica’s Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay joining the club on a promise of a hand shake, but so far there seems to be a malfunction in United’s negotiating department - as the summer transfer window deadline nears closing.

Although the club still holds two world-class defenders in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić, the two have been showing signs of age and seem to struggle coping with United’s intense schedule.

Ferdinand has a great reading of the game and can still get those clean tackles in the box, but his speed is not what it used to be and he struggles at times to keep up with his young opponents.

Vidić is still one of the best defenders in the world and a true lion in the box, he is fearless and still the best header in the squad; however, in the last couple of years he has been prone to injury, having to miss a large portion of the season.

Both defenders are still capable of holding the fort but must be rested more often than not, finding themselves sitting on the bench having to watch their younger team-mates struggle. 

The new generation of defenders at Manchester United is undoubtedly talented, but are they world-class material?

Coming out of Manchester United’s academy, Jonny Evans is a young hard working defender who seems extremely devoted to his club.

With a boyish smile he seems to charm the fans week in and out, and is expected to take over the important role of first-team defender.

Unfortunately his positioning is often wrong as he seems to struggle in anticipating his opponents' moves. He also lacks bravery and is not as fearless as a world-class defender should be.

Phil Jones, on the other hand, is fearless, and seems to have a lion heart.

He is a physical defender but is often sluggish with the ball and tends to make mistakes such as bad passes when under pressure. Like Vidić, Jones often struggles with injury and finds himself rested.

Chris Smalling had a tough 2012/13 season, having to miss a large portion of it due to surgery on a broken metatarsal.

At 6ft 5in, he has great presence in the air and possesses the physicality of a good defender.

Smalling has yet to become a permanent starter in the squad, but he seems to be working his way up the ladder. Smalling, not a world-class defender yet, but shows the potential of becoming one. 

If Manchester United have any ambitions of successfully competing in the Europe and the Premier League, they will need a little help.

It might be time to cash in that handshake promise and turn to Benfica with a tempting offer.

Garay could be a welcoming relief for an injury-prone defence - and could make the difference in the upcoming season.


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