Both long-serving Premier League fullbacks and both France internationals, Manchester United's Patrice Evra and Arsenal's Bacary Sagna are both linked with moves away from the English game this summer.
Evra was crowned Premier League champions with Manchester United once again this term – his 5th league title in his 7-year career with the Red Devils.
Sagna has won not a single medal in his 6 years of service to the Gunners but there can be no doubt he has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent and dedicated performers.
Whilst Sagna is rumoured to be eyeing a move away from the Emirates this summer due to having not won any medals with Arsenal, Evra’s reasoning is still unclear.
At 31, Evra is the vice-captain of the most successful team in English football history and undoubtedly one of the best teams on the continent. He is surrounded by a number of world-class professionals and gets paid very well for his service to the club.
Recently Evra and Sagna have both been linked with super-rich Ligue 1 outfit Paris Saint-Germain where the project in the French capital has lured a number of world-class players from around the world.
There is no doubt that PSG will, from this point forward, develop into a superpower in European football due to the huge investments being made and the talent being headhunted.
Whilst I have my doubts as to whether the French champions will bring in either Sagna or Evra this summer, having only recently splashed the cash to bring in Barcelona’s left-back Maxwell and Ajax’s right back Gregory van der Wiel, which of the two French Premier League fullbacks would be a better addition to their squad?
Sagna has had probably his most underwhelming season in an Arsenal shirt this term – he’s been uncharacteristically error-prone, has lacked concentration and his level or performance has dropped considerable. However that has not been the case over the last 6 years at the Emirates.
I suspect his lack of focus and desire recently may be intrinsically linked to his lack of commitment to Arsenal as he still has yet to agree a new deal as he heads into the final year of his current contract this summer.
Evra is in the very same position at Old Trafford – his deal with the champions also expires in 2014 and he may feel he has achieved everything he can with United and fancy a return to his homeland.
On sheer ability, I believe Sagna may have the better attacking attributes – he is a very good crosser of the ball, gets forward on the flank to support the winger remarkably well and is, despite errors this season, a very solid defender. Sagna even functioned briefly as a centre-back in times of need this term and showed he is very much a committed and intelligent defender.
Evra is a very good crosser in forward areas and his engine is every bit as impressive as his compatriot’s – I believe he offers more protection at the back than Sagna who probably has a little more to offer going forward.
Sagna has scored double the amount of goals as Evra has for United in around two thirds of appearances. For the national team, Evra has made around a dozen more appearances than his Premier League peer yet neither of them has been able to lead their country to glory.
Their individual career trajectories have taken them remarkably similar journeys – both left France for the Premier League at 24 years of age and came to what were then the two most competitive teams in English football.
Sagna may look back with regrets that he wasn’t able to achieve more with Arsenal but he can have no regrets about how far he’s come – he is a world-class fullback and I’m sure if both either one them return to France this summer, they may very well be appreciated more admirably than they are in England.
Who would I pick? Based on this term, you’d have to hand it to Evra – he has been solid and effective and his work-rate is second to none and on paper credentials he’d be the most successful fullback.
However, if Sagna had have played for Manchester United I believe he’d get more credit than he does with the Gunners. Going forward he has been as good a right back as any other in the league over the same period.
Who gets your vote - Sagna or Evra?
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