Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus and Benfica reportedly sent scouts to Spain watch the La Liga encounter between Valencia and Las Palmas played at Mestalla on Friday night (18 August). The reason behind the mission is uncertain but Super Deporte suggests that the Red Devils could have been scouting long-term target Ezequiel Garay.
Earlier in the summer United signed Victor Lindelöf from Benfica to bolster the heart of the back-line after Phil Jones and Chris Smalling struggled to convince Jose Mourinho that they deserve a regular place alongside Eric Bailly. The United boss is purported to want another centre-back having made a move to re-sign Michael Keane from Burnley before the former academy star decided to join Everton.
Reports linking the Europa League winners with another defender have since cooled as Mourinho turned his attention to bolster other positions with the signings of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku from Everton.
Mourinho has also been in the hunt for a winger to complete his overhaul but last week he suggested that he may have to wait until January to make another signing.
"I don't think we are, unless something happens to put us in the market again," Mourinho said last week. "I told Mr Woodward my plans were four but I also told him be cool, no pressure from me, do what you think is best for the club. We will be together again for another transfer window in January and next summer so no pressure from me at all. I'm happy with the squad we have. I'm ready to go without the fourth player. If we are out of market, I'm fine, I'm ready."
However, Super Deporte believes that United are still planning to make another signing after the club sent up to three scouts to Mestalla last week. The local publication believes that such a high presence of United scouts can't be a mere coincidence, especially considering that one of them was Javier Ribalta.
Ribalta, the former Juventus chief scout, was brought from Italy earlier in June and Super Deporte says that he now has the final say in the transfer business conducted by the Premier League giants.
Former West Ham flop Simone Zaza scored the only goal of the game to give Valencia the three points but Super Deporte believes that Garay was the reason behind the scouts trip to Spain.
The former Real Madrid centre-back has been linked with United since his early days at Benfica and could now be ready to leave Mestalla after Valencia signed Gabriel Paulista from Arsenal and Jeison Murillo from Inter Milan to strengthen the back-line.
If United do indeed want to sign the 30-year-old defender, they would face competition from Juventus as the Serie A champions have publicly admitted that they are interested in signing him to replace Leonardo Bonucci.
Meanwhile, the presence of Tottenham scouts at Mestalla is perhaps more significant given that they continue to attempt to strengthen several positions, having only made one signing this summer in the form of Davinson Sanchez from Ajax.