Jan 12, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT
Adding to the offseason makeover shaping up across Manchester United’s back line, left back Patrice Evra looks unlikely to return to the Red Devils next season. The 33-year-old, in the last year of his contract, has not been offered a new deal at Old Trafford, and with rumors linking him with a return to Monaco last summer, the French international looks set to make way for a new purchase in Stretford.
Leighton Baines has been rumored to be Evra’s replacement ever since the current Toffee’s former boss, David Moyes, made the move to Manchester last May. According to The Guardian’s reporting, Southampton’s Luke Shaw is now also a target, with the Red Devils seemingly committed to bringing in a fresh face to replace the long-time starter.
Evra joined United from Monaco in January 2006 and, after initially battling to win a place in Alex Ferguson’s starting XI, has been a regular during the last seven seasons. Over the course of 359 all-competition appearances, Evra has scored nine times while contributing to five league and one European champion. On three occasions, Evra’s been voted to the Professional Footballers’ Association team of the season in England while earning FifPRO’s worldwide honor in 2009.
That résumé looks set to leave Old Trafford come May, however, potentially following teammates Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand out of United’s defense. Vidic’s agent recently told Italian radio that the Red Devils’ captain is unlikely to sign an extension to a contract that expires this June, while Ferdinand’s continuing health problems mean the long-time Red Devil is unlikely to be offered a new deal.
Yet whereas Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones leave a number of options in central defense, Evra’s departure would be met with more uncertainty. The French international has played at least 28 games in each of the last six Premier League seasons, leaving very little time for an understudy. Whether that understudy would be Alexander Büttner, Fabio, or somebody else is unclear based on United’s current options.
More likely, Moyes would up the pursuit of a replacement through the transfer market, with the likes of Baines and Shaw pursued to replace somebody who’s been a given in United’s defense.
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