Juventus’ decision to allow Patrice Evra to leave the J Stadium in January suddenly had Manchester United fans feeling all nostalgic.
Rumours were rife that the left-back could be returning to Old Trafford, two years after leaving the club for Serie A. Evra himself was believed to be desperate to go back, and the club’s fans were equally hopeful that a move was on the cards.
Evra remains a hugely popular at the club, having won five Premier League titles, three League cups and a Champions League during an eight-and-a-half-year spell. Man United’s struggle to adequately fill that left-back spot since his departure meant that bringing him back on a short-term deal could theoretically, despite Evra’s age, have allowed José Mourinho to temporarily plug the gap while he found someone more long-term.
However, Mourinho’s insistence that there would be no new signings at Man United killed any potential deal, and the 35-year-old instead transferred back to Ligue 1 with Marseille.
While neither Man United nor Mourinho has commented on the mooted deal, Evra has revealed just how close it was to actually happening.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, the French international claimed that that a move back to the Premier League side was just about in place, but an unnamed party blocked it before it could be confirmed:
“I was very close to a return to Manchester United.
“I also spoke with Mourinho but there was a person, whose name I will not say, who probably did not like the idea of my return.
“Even the fans were enthusiastic and would have been delighted, but because I realised that they [the club] would not do anything I then asked my agent to look for other teams.”
In the end, Evra signed for l’OM on a free transfer, signing an 18-month deal and linking up with international teammate and fellow new signing Dimitri Payet.