If David Moyes really feels like he needs a new left-back at Manchester United, and there should be some doubt over that given the fine form of Patrice Evra last season, it is only natural that he would return to his old club Everton for Leighton Baines.
Baines was superb last season raiding down the Toffees’ left flank to provide a steady stream of chances, and was accomplished in his defensive duties as well, something that can get ignored given the focus on attacking qualities in modern full-backs.
However Baines will turn 29 before the end of this year, and given that he will likely cost at least £15million, is the England international the best option for Manchester United this summer?
Another left-back who is expected to be on the move is Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao, and the Portuguese player might the man Moyes should target this summer.
Coentrao is just 25, and would cost around the same amount as Baines. Although he does not have the Premier League experience of the Everton player, he has played in the Champions League regularly, as well as at international tournaments with Portugal.
Coentrao arrived at Real Madrid in a €30million deal in 2011. Since then he has played 63 matches in two seasons, fighting with Brazilian Marcelo for the left-back spot. Chelsea and Manchester City have also been linked with a move for Coentrao this summer, and Benfica have expressed an interest in signing their former player.
However Manchester United should also be considering the 25-year-old, and if they did make a move, Coentrao could perhaps see Old Trafford as his best destination. He is a younger option than Baines, and it would be easier to gradually phase him in as Evra’s replacement because of this.
Coentrao’s attacking qualities are superb, and he is a solid enough defender to replace the Frenchman in United’s team. Adding his pace and trickery on the ball to their left-flank would be a boost to Moyes’ attack, and although he would naturally think of Baines when considering his left-back options, the Manchester United manager should focus on Coentrao instead this summer.
image: © wonker