Manchester United have announced today that Patrice Evra has signed a one-year contract extension with the club. Long rumored to be exiting the team and linked with Italian giants Juventus, the veteran French defender has opted to stay on with the Devils, who are still set to ink youngster Luke Shaw to a contract as well. However, while Manchester United might see Evra staying on with the club, apparently high-profile target Toni Kroos is out.
With the appointment of Van Gaal as manager earlier this week finally confirmed after weeks of speculation, the rumour mill surrounding the goings on at Old Trafford has been in high gear. In truth, given the state of the club’s performance in the 2013-14 Barclay’s Premier league, the rumours have been, perhaps justifiably, going on for some time. Moyes was seen as being ineffective, his one big signing in Belgian Marouane Fellaini an expensive failure by all standards, and with his early exit and the worst ever Premier League finish in club history, everyone knew that this organization would have to make some big moves. Manchester United certainly needs to improve on the pitch, and having Evra in the line-up may be a part of that, though with rumors of Kroos out of the mix, Van Gaal will have to look elsewhere for midfield support.
With Vidic already announcing his departure to Italy’s Inter Milan and Ferdinand ending his historic career with the Devils, Manchester United were thought by many to be losing the services of veteran French defender Patrice Evra as well. It was an aging back line, indeed, and one that was riddled with injury, particularly in the middle. However Evra has proven to be something of an ironman, with the 33-year-old featuring in 33 matches for United last season. His exit had been long rumored, and talks of a contract for Southampton teenager Luke Shaw, set to be one of the highest paid defenders in Europe, only seemed to confirm Evra’s exit. With the announcement today by the club on Twitter, Manchester United will see Evra and Shaw split time on the left side. Apparently, Van Gaal was intent on having Evra stay on for at least one more year, likely due in part to the leadership and mentorship he could offer young players such as Shaw and Junazaj.
However, the search for a strong presence in the centre of the park continues, as Kroos is reportedly staying in Germany. Apparently, Kroos was a target of former manager David Moyes, who was involved in a scuffle at a wine bar earlier this week. Van Gaal is apparently less interested and Kroos has stated that he believes he will be with Bayern again next year. With Van Gaal reportedly more interested in fellow Dutchman Kevin Strootman of Roma, and Fabregas’ name still surfacing from time to time, there are still plenty of targets for the club and for fans to speculate about.
Fans at United are certainly no strangers to enduring endless reports of intended transfers, player rumors, and whatever other happenings are discussed in the regular media blitzes that bombard Old Trafford. While a talented and enviable player like Kroos would have been an asset, fans of the club certainly have learned by now not to count their chickens before they have hatched. So while Manchester United confirming Evra will stay in the line-up may be a relief for some, rumours of Kroos being out of the running will not likely break many hearts.
By Bryan A. Jones