With Cole a no-go, should Manchester United chase Coentrao?

Chelsea were reportedly also keen on the Portuguese left back, but in securing Ashley Cole for another year, they are unlikely to go in for Coentrao, who could leave Real Madrid this summer.

Whilst Patrice Evra has perhaps performed better this season than he has been given credit for, there is no doubt he is on the down slope of his career, and Manchester United have to be looking for a replacement for the Frenchman.

Alex Buttner has impressed in his limited appearances this year, and there is always the dream that one day United will field both Fabio and Rafael on each flank, but it's more than likely they will enter the transfer market for a new left back at some stage.

Leighton Baines is one name consistently linked with a move to Old Trafford, but Coentrao might be an even better option. Baines has clearly proven himself in the Premier League, but Coentrao is younger than the Everton player, and might be cheaper too if Real Madrid really are keen to sell him.

Given that Madrid signed the 24-year-old for £27 million as recently as 2011, Coentrao would still be expensive even if they were keen to sell him. But Everton has proven themselves tough negotiators on plenty of occasions, and if they sell Marouane Fellaini in the summer, they will have little financial incentive to also allow Baines to leave.

If Coentrao became available at around £15 million, he would represent a significant saving compared to the prices currently being mentioned with regards to Baines.

Coentrao is a tremendously exciting player, and is one of the best attacking left backs in Europe. United have hardly been short of attacking options this season, but replacing Evra with Coentrao would certainly ensure they lost none of the width going forward that the Frenchman currently provides.

With Chelsea unlikely to make a move now, Manchester United's biggest Premier League rivals for Coentrao might be their neighbours Manchester City, but as Robin van Persie proved in the summer, that's one transfer battle United don’t often lose.

image: © Nasmac

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