In a season during which a total of 55 Premier, Champions League, FA and Carling Cup matches were played by Manchester United, full back Patrice Evra appeared in no less than 51 of them, a consistency and injury free record which must be the envy of every player in the League. Yet a report has now surfaced indicating that the French international is ready to look for a new challenge in either Spain or Italy.
The question then must be asked of whether reports like this can be believed. The season has barely finished yet we are hearing of one player after another considering moves to all sorts of clubs within the Premier League or elsewhere in Europe. With the World Cup now just one month away, it’s difficult to see how players like Evra can possibly be focusing on anything other than the huge challenge ahead in South Africa.
For whatever it’s worth, the report states that Real Madrid and Inter Milan are ready to pay £18million for the 28 year old defender with close friend and former team mate Cristiano Ronaldo highly recommending him to his Madrid club. The interest by Inter stems from the fact that the Serie A champions are in search of a left back because of Davide Santon continuous problems with a knee injury. In the unlikely event of Inter snaring Evra from Old Trafford, he would be returning to Italy after stints at Marsala and Monza early in his career.
Evra has grown and matured since his arrival at United in a £7m move from Monaco just over four years ago. He has established himself as one of the best left backs in the world, consistently troubling opposition sides with his penetrating runs down the left flank.
It’s difficult to imagine manager Sir Alex Ferguson being prepared to lose one of his key defenders without putting up fierce resistance. A more realistic fee of at least £25m is likely to be demanded should any club show serious interest. Evra still has two years remaining on his current deal which is believed to be worth around £80 thousand a week but Ferguson will be well aware that the market value for the classy defender will plummet by next summer when there will only be one year left on his contract.
Since signing for United in January 2006, Evra has picked up a swag of winning medals including 3 Premiership, 3 Carling Cup, a European Champions League, a FIFA Club World Cup and 2 in the FA Community Shield but still finds losing out to Chelsea in this season’s title race difficult to accept.
“It was very painful at half time against Stoke when I found out that Chelsea were two goals up and Wigan reduced to ten men. It’s hard to take and a very sad day for me” Evra admitted “I can say congratulations to my team mates because it was a tough season and to finish second was good but it’s not my mentality. I’ve always said that if I don’t finish first in the league I will feel like I didn’t do my job well enough. When you play for a club like Manchester United you must always win. I’ve been here four years and this is my first full season when I have failed to win the league. It feel strange, this is a very, very sad day for me”
The Frenchman believes that United came unstuck in the title race because they lost too many games over the course of the campaign but is determined to help put things right next term “We lost too many games this season. We shouldn’t have lost to Chelsea here and then we could only draw away with Blackburn which cost us more points” he added.
“There were other games we lost when we shouldn’t have, like Burnley at the beginning of the season. I think that was the key, but still I congratulate Chelsea for winning the league. I want to win every year and next season will be the same. Every year I play for Manchester United I want to be the best.”?
These are certainly not the words you expect to hear from someone who is contemplating a move elsewhere to look for a new challenge because he already has a very clear one. It is simply to regain the title that has just been lost.
How likely is it for Evra to want a move away from Old Trafford?