Last week the news coming out of Old Trafford was unfortunately not that of a new signing, something the fans are immediately craving after such a poor season. No, the news was the of a one-year extension on a contract for the experienced left back Patrice Evra. This announcement may not have fans running out to the shop to get his name printed on their replica jerseys, or amass 5 million ‘likes’ on Facebook but it is a very significant announcement.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have already left the red half of Manchester in the close season. These are two massive holes within the club now that need to be filled. The influence this duo had both on and off the field for the club was massive, a huge loss.
Evra has been key to the success United have had during his time at the club, there is no doubting his effectiveness has declined over the years. This was shown first hand when Arjen Robben made him look like a schoolboy during the Champions League 2nd leg battle.
The legs may have gone but as a player who has held the captaincy much like Ferdinand and Vidic, I’m sure Van Gaal thought he was losing too much experience from his squad already.
Luke Shaw, the young Southampton and now England left back is reportedly close to signing for the club for a large fee. He has had a great couple of seasons resulting in a much coveted seat on the plane to Brazil this summer however he is still largely inexperienced.
With United seemingly planning on investing so heavily in the player they are going to need to make sure he gets as much guidance as possible in what will be a tough first season at the club with such a huge price tag over his head. Evra has played against some of the biggest names in football and won some of the biggest competitions. Would there be anybody better than the Frenchman to take Shaw under his wings at the club? This writer does not think so.
A whole host of other clubs including his former club Monaco were reportedly interested in signing Evra, with an obvious interest in the qualities he has to add to their side.
With the lure of perhaps an easier life and one last pay day, United, and in particular Van Gaal, have definitely made the right choice in signing up the Frenchman for at least one more season.
With a long summer ahead in terms of players leaving the club and new players arriving, it is great to see that moves are being made already with the intention of carrying out a much needed rebuild on the squad who performed so poorly last season.
Sam O’Neill, Pundit Arena.