The Red Devils’ well-documented headhunting of former David Moyes protégé Leighton Baines at Everton gathered momentum throughout the summer months but, ultimately, ended on deadline day as United turned their attention to Real Madrid fullback Fabio Coentrao.
This week, numerous sources are reporting that United will persist with their endeavors to sign the Portuguese La Liga star in January with previous reports this season suggesting they could even renew their interest in Baines.
United manager David Moyes revealed this week he does intend to bring in some new additions in the winter window which, on the one hand may come as a welcome relief for United fans after the club’s transfer failures this summer but, on the other hand, what about Patrice Evra?
The 32-year-old vice-captain has been one of the club’s most loyal and consistent servants since his arrival at Old Trafford from Monaco some eight years ago.
A seasoned, experienced and top class senior international, first choice in his position for France, and lieutenant to the skipper for his club, what will Evra make of all the left-back targets the club are and have been pursuing of late? Surely he’ll still feel he’s got gas left in the tank and I would imagine he’ll be hoping to book his ticket on the flight to Brazil with France for the World Cup next year.
If United bring in Baines or Coentrao in January, for example, his position for both club ad country suddenly is put in jeopardy. Are United undervaluing him or are they just preparing for the future?
Evra has helped United to no less than five Premier League titles, three League Cups, a Champions League title and a FIFA Club World Cup title. That’s no mean feat, for starters.
He’s made around 340 appearances for the Red Devils and been one quarter of one of the finest back-fours around under Sir Alex Ferguson. Yes, he’s not getting any younger but his experience is invaluable to the team, especially in these times of transition and adaptation under Moyes.
One could argue that United are merely preparing for the future which at some point will not include Patrice Evra but, if they are really looking way down the line, they ought to be considering, before Baines of Coentrao, a youngster like Luke Shaw of Southampton – they have been linked in recent weeks with the Saints’ fullback but only as a third-choice target, by all accounts.
Shaw would represent a signing for the future, not 28-year-old Baines, or even 25-year-old Coentrao and, anyways, what about Alex Buttner? Patrice Evra is a top class professional athlete and a loyal servant to the club but, at this point, I wonder if he feels at least a little undervalued at Manchester United?