As every football fan must know, there are times when the hardest thing to face is reality. Ewood Park towards the end of last season was one example when the loss of two points looked certain to cost Manchester United a record fourth consecutive Premier League title.
It was a reality which was replaced with forlorn hope that a miracle might still occur and without wanting to wish it, there’s a danger that another real possibility will have to be faced in the coming weeks.
Rumors of this or that player coming to Old Trafford have been appearing in the media on an almost daily basis without anything definite happening. It has got to the stage where the reality may be that nothing ever will but there’s an even bigger danger that rather than bringing anyone in, United may have to face the fact that a number of key players could be on the way out.
Patrice Evra – First of all, the fact has to be faced that Barcelona are reported to be planning a shock swoop for the left back. According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Barca are looking to improve the left side of their defence and the Catalans are particularly impressed with the Frenchman’s attitude and ability to burst forward down the flank.
Evra is believed to be considering a move away from Old Trafford in order to try his luck in a different league, and the paper cites “well-connected” football agents as saying that while a number of Serie A clubs had expressed interest in his services, Evra was holding out for Barcelona. The 29 year old has been one of United’s most consistent performers since his move from Monaco in 2005. He’s an excellent, attack minded defender who loves to use his blistering pace to get forward and support attacks with good technique and distribution.
Apart from Barcelone, Real Madrid are also mulling over a move for the left back, added Mundo Deportivo, with coach Jose Mourinho being well aware of his abilities from when the Portuguese man faced Manchester United during his time as Chelsea manager.
Nemanja Vidic – Apart from Evra, Mourinho will also look to make Vidic one of his first signings at Real Madrid , according to the News of the World. There has been speculation over Vidic’s United future for several months following rumours of a disagreement with Sir Alex Ferguson, frustration over Vidic’s injury problems and his wife’s reported unhappiness in Manchester. However, the Serb defender still managed to play 31 games for the club last season.
His agent Paolo Fabbri refused to rule out a move this summer especially to Real Madrid. Fabbri said, “We have requested some time from the club to think about things and Nemanja does not want to look at things until after the World Cup. I don’t know about Real Madrid. We have not heard anything official from them and Nemanja has requested I do not speak about particular clubs.”
The News of the World claims that “Mourinho made Vidic one of his top targets the moment he took over at the Bernabeu. Sir Alex has also signed central defender Chris Smalling from Fulham earlier this year. In addition to the emergence of Jonny Evans over the last two seasons, United will be confident that they have enough options to cope should Vidic opt to leave Old Trafford.
Dimitar Berbatov and Anderson – Ferguson is reportedly prepared to offload Berbatov and Anderson to fund the signing of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. The Spanish AS newspaper reported that the Frenchman would cost United 30 million Euros, five million less than Real Madrid paid Olympique Lyon for his services a year ago.
Benzema had a rather disappointing first season at the Bernabeu, scoring just nine goals in 32 appearances. His lack of first team action led to his exclusion from Raymond Domenech’s French World Cup squad. He has been linked with United for a while and there have even been reports that Real would be willing to include him in a swap deal to secure Vidic’s signature.
None of those departures may eventuate of course but the rumblings are starting to get louder. Losing any of those mentioned will leave a big hole in Ferguson’s squad and while there is certainly a wealth of young talent coming through the ranks, the fact has to be acknowledged that there may be a number of familiar faces missing at Old Trafford when the fast approaching new season kicks off.
Do you expect any of those players to depart during the current transfer window?