Manchester United have staggered the representatives of Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay after promising the Argentine star an annual salary of £6 million, Goal can reveal.

Old Trafford officials have held informal talks with those close to the 26-year-old centre-half over a contract worth £115k-a-week that would represent a significant rise on his current deal at the Portuguese club, with David Moyes keen to bolster his backline following a number of injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic last season.

Reports claim that the Premier League champions are willing to pay up to £17m for the former Real Madrid star, but Goal understands that the clubs have not yet held formal talks over a potential transfer.

Garay, who joined Benfica in 2011 as part of the deal that took Fabio Coentrao to Madrid, has been a target for United since early in the year, with club scouts having monitored his progress as Benfica reached the Europa League final against Chelsea in May.

Concerns have mounted at United over the squad's strength in depth in the centre of defence, with Ferdinand and captain Vidic - who hasn't travelled on the club's pre-season tour due to suffering from sciatica, both having been hampered with injuries in recent years.