With the January transfer window approaching its halfway point, the rumour mill is in full swing and, rather predictably, United have been caught right in the thick of it, with David Moyes’ necessity to begin a long overdue clearout at Old Trafford second only to his desperate needs for reinforcements.
While things are predictably and expectedly quiet on the arrival front, the exit door at Old Trafford could see many faces walking through it between the next two weeks and, more importantly, in June.
While some of the players expected to leave Old Trafford have been stealing a living at the club for years – yes, that’s Anderson we’re talking about – other have been fantastic servants to the club but, with age and fitness issues slowly catching up with them, it’d probably best for all the parties involved if they departed the club sooner rather than later.
Patrice Evra is arguably the player closer to leave United, with the French left-back widely reported to be heading home to France at the end of the season when his contract expires at the end of the season.
While Evra’s commitment to the club and attacking prowess remain unquestioned and unquestionable, the 33-year-old Frenchman has become a defensive liability and last David Moyes personally informed him that he intended to bring in competition for the left-back position – possibly in the shape of Leighton Baines or Luke Shaw – given that Alexander Buttner’s defensive limits have been brutally exposed this season.
With Evra open to consider his options, Nemanja Vidic could follow suit, after his agent last week said that “At the moment, I would rule out an extension with Manchester United.”
Vida has attracted interest from Napoli, Juventus and Barcelona, while Rio Ferdinand, the man who partnered Vidic in the middle of United’s defence for so long, looks to be heading away from the club at the end of the season, after losing his spot in the starting XI and with offers likely to arrive on his table sooner rather than later.
With three defenders poised to leave, David Moyes is not only in the market for a left-back, but also for a central defender which could explain why the United manager was spotted in Cagliari yesterday, as the home side took on Juventus in Serie A.
Cagliari’s Davide Astori has been impressive in the last two seasons and his performances have earned him a place in the Italy side, but the more optimistic of Reds must have hoped Moyes traveled to Sardinia yesterday to keep an eye on one of Juventus’ midfielders.
With Paul Pogba linked with a possible return to Old Trafford and Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio also on the pitch, Moyes must have been reminded how much of a luxury it is to be able to field such quality midfielders and while neither Pogba nor Vidal are expected to be leaving Italy anytime soon given that they’ve both penned new deals with Juventus, Marchisio could be a slightly easier target for United.
Phil Neville, meanwhile, traveled to Spain to keep an eye on Rayo Vallecano’s midfielder Saul – a star of Spain U21 – and on his teammate Alex Galvez, a defender who’s also attracted interest from Borussia Dortmund.