As a Manchester United fan, the prospect of having Patrice Evra back in the Premier League is positively exciting. The 36-year old full-back has been – in his pomp, one of the finest all-round defenders in the Premier League era, certainly for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson. West Ham United, since recruiting David Moyes, have steadily found their feet in the Premier League and are on the way up, albeit in a laborious fashion.
The Hammers sit 12th in the league but they are far from guaranteed safety – like the other ten teams in the bottom half that are separated by a mere ten points, three less than the gap between first and second at the other end. Such has been the imbalance in the Premier League this season that staying in the top flight is priority for a variety of different reasons – primarily financial, as the Premier League clock is inching towards the close, with only 12 games to go.
David Moyes, the Scot who built his reputation in the north of England by steering a big club flirting with relegation in Everton up to mid-table with the odd top six finish in his 11-year period at the club. He is tasked with a similar job at a club of lesser size but vastly higher finances 15 years on, and the results speak for themselves.
David Moyes, as shrewd in the transfer market as he can be at the right club, has during his time at Everton, benefited from clever recruiting in key areas, both from a financial standpoint and in terms of being the right fit for the club with enough quality and experience.
By signing Evra, Moyes has reverted to the one managerial element that has always been a defining feature in his career: bringing in men who know him well and he could trust without hesitation. He lived by that philosophy at Goodison Park and died by the same at Old Trafford and now at West Ham United he has turned to one of his leaders during his time at Manchester United in Patrice Evra.
The 36-year old – in his usual infectious tone of excitement, spoke after signing for the East London club when he told the official website,
“I’m really happy to be a Hammer, to be back in the Premier League and I love this game! It’s amazing to be back and I am thankful to West Ham for giving me the opportunity to do my job.
When I wake up and know I am going to work hard, to have fun with my teammates and give my best on the pitch, I want to say a massive thanks to West Ham, to the chairman, to the manager to all my teammates, who have given me a nice welcome, my agent and my brother. I’m just happy to be here, it’s really simple. You don’t realise how lucky you are and just to wake up this morning and know I am going to train with my new teammates made me smile!”
The Frenchman has been without a team after his contract with Marseille was terminated following an altercation with a supporter. He had spent the last few weeks building his fitness up in the Middle East before securing a return to England. For a side that seems to be short of big characters and leaders with experience in the dressing room with the exception of a few, Evra is a timely and dare I say, necessary addition.
With former Man City full-back Pablo Zabaleta marauding down the right flank, having already made 25 appearances in the Premier League this season (highest in the squad), at the age of 33, still deadly consistent at what he does, the arrival of Evra could offer Moyes a similar reliable outlet on the other side.
For he is no different and given the added incentive of knowing the league – having won it multiple times in his career, not to mention the familiarity with the city of London and more importantly, the manager he will be working under – it could all turn out fine for West Ham United as they bear witness to another David Moyes classic.