Manchester United and Manchester City are set to go head-to-head in a transfer battle for defender Ezequiel Garay, according to reports.

The Sunday People claims Citizens chief Manuel Pellegrini has joined the race to bring the player to the Premier League, and is ready to battle the club's local rivals to secure the signature.

David Moyes was heavily linked with a move for the 27-year-old in the summer transfer window, after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at the Manchester United helm.

However, the new Red Devils chief failed to bring the Argentine international to Old Trafford, in one of a number of high-profile failures in the market.

Marouane Fellaini did join his former boss at Manchester United in August, but the champions did not strengthen at the back.

Manchester City also had a new boss this summer in the shape of Pellegrini, and he signed a centre back in Martin Demichelis.

However, injury problems have left the Etihad Stadium outfit short in the position, and the manager appears unsure over Joleon Lescott after favouring Javi Garcia ahead of the England defender on occasion.

Garay, a 17-cap international who has previously played for Real Madrid, would certainly add Manchester City with quality and experience in the position if they were able to lure the player to the club in January.

And, the reported £17million price-tag won't be an issue for the Citizens, who continue to spend heavily in their quest for supremacy in the English top flight.

Money isn't an issue for Manchester United either though, and landing the player ahead of their rivals would be a major queue for the under pressure Moyes.

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