Manchester United have been chasing a left back for well over a year, which highlights how the hierarchy view Patrice Evra and his long term future.
Many thought Leighton Baines would arrive last summer, but the links to Luke Shaw are promising for Manchester United fans as he is a lot younger than his fellow England international, therefore he offers value for money if he is to sign for the club. It looks more and more likely that Shaw will be moving to Old Trafford in the near future, he could play for the club at a high level for the next decade. He is already considered as one of the best young full backs in the world, he will only get better in the environment provided at Manchester United.
Patrice Evra has been a key part of the Manchester United side for a number of years, winning trophies aplenty, but he has started to decline over the past couple of seasons. He has started to lose his pace and wingers are getting the better of him on more occasions. Last season, he won 57% of his ground 50-50s and 68.35% of his tackles attempted, while he has played a part in ten clean sheets. The Frenchman also contributed going forward getting one goal and three assists, while creating 38 chances for team-mates. He is known to get up and down the wings, his crossing accuracy of 22% shows that he can whip in a good ball into the box.
Luke Shaw continues to grow with every game, which has resulted in the youngster leapfrogging Ashley Cole to gain a place in England’s World Cup squad this summer. In the past season, he won 56% of his ground 50-50s and 84.72% of his tackles attempted, while he played a part in 13 clean sheets for Southampton. Shaw has yet to reach the attacking ability of Evra as he has failed to score a senior goal in his career, but he did get one assist last season. His crossing accuracy of 21% is slightly lower than Evra, but it is still impressive.
Louis Van Gaal will be instructed to create a new identity for Manchester United, therefore he may opt to remove the old guard entirely, which would leave the left back spot open for Shaw, ensuring he does join the club. The new manager will certainly improve the side from last season as he has a pedigree that David Moyes just didn’t have, which will make it easier to win the dressing room over. Also with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaving and Ryan Giggs retiring, there are less of the playing staff who will be resistant of new ideas. The Dutchman may see Evra in a similar light and move him on.
The deal for Luke Shaw should be tied up before the World Cup, barring any last minute hitches, therefore the left back should join Manchester United for pre season training. This will give the new manager the opportunity to run the rule over both options he will have at left back. Patrice Evra still has a lot to offer the club and could be used to bring through Shaw. Also if Shaw is overwhelmed by the move and his transfer fee, it will mean they have a ready made replacement in the squad.