Nov 01

United target way better than current option?

Patrice-Evra-Manchester-United_2984848Manchester United will still be considering whether Patrice Evra is the right man for the left back role, after approaches for Everton’s Leighton Baines and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao during the summer transfer window couldn’t be finalised by Ed Woodward, with the latter a last minute fiasco which topped off an embarrassing window.

Many Reds aren’t convinced by Baines, claiming that it’d be foolish to spend £20m on a left-back who will be 29 next year. However, he is better than Evra and should be top of Moyes new year transfer targets.

Here’s why

1. Crossing

Leighton Baines can probably cross a ball better than all of our wingers. He is superb at overlapping the wide men, and always puts a decent ball into the box. For England, he set up Wayne Rooney with a header to give us the lead over Poland. A brilliant cross, and possibly to a future team mate!

2. Set-pieces

Baines is a master from the dead ball position, and can take free kicks and corners, unlike Evra. He loves to place the ball into the top corner, and can do so brilliantly. Last month, Baines scored two breathtaking free-kicks against West Ham, which won Everton the game. Both strikes were perfectly placed in the top corner. His crossing for corners is also very good. The set-piece specialist would be great at United, especially with Nemanja Vidic and Marouane Fellaini in the box.

baines2_2441488b3. Age

Evra is now approaching 33, and he’s only getting older. Baines is only 28, and at the peak of his career. Evra is not as energetic and fit as he once was, whereas Baines is. Baines’ fitness and stamina is ridiculous, as he can run for fun and is a brilliant player to have on the wing. When Evra goes forward, he struggles getting back and is often caught out. Baines has the fitness to sprint back and get into position.

4. Defending

I remember when it only used to be Aaron Lennon that got the better of Evra, now it seems to be everyone. You rarely see a player get the better of Baines. On the left side, Evra is done for pace, skill or just simple strength, this rarely happens to Baines, showing just how good he is defensively, as well as attacking.

5. Just Better!

Overall, what Evra can do, Baines can do better! In my opinion, Baines is one of the best full backs in the world right now, and if he signed for United, I think he wouldn’t only be our best full back, but also our best winger! Evra is ageing, and lacks the energy and quality he once possessed. If I had to choose between Evra or Baines, I wouldn’t even have to think about it. Baines everyday of the week. Sign him up Moyes!

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Tags: Opinion Piece · Transfer Rumours

14 Responses to “United target way better than current option?”

  • The_Philosopher

    I have always believed in the merits of Leighton Baines’ game. I don’t think that he could be worse than Evra.

    I see him as a purchase like RVP was. Old but worth every penny.

    Evra isn’t finished but he can’t play every game on the calendar.

    Evra needs to be used sparingly almost like Ryan Giggs.

    I love Evra’s spirit and he is well worth his vice-captaincy. But we also need to be realistic about the value and impact of his game.

    He isn’t the player he once was. But give Patrice a few breaks and when he eventually does get a game he will be good.

    Baines is awesome though. I’m totally behind the purchase of Leighton Baines.

    Evra should not look at the purchase of a new LB as a rejection of him but rather as a natural progression. I would personally like to see Evra end his career at United.

    He is a great motivator and positive influence in the dressing room so I really wouldn’t want to lose that. He needs to take a cue from Giggs and Ferdinand and just take the games he can get but remain loyal to the club.

    • @The_Philosopher: I do see where you are coming form, but alas do not agree. £20m for a 29 yesr old left is not money well spent.
      Firstly Baines is a good player, all be it not a great defender. He would be a Chelsea, City type signing. A stop gap for manager who will be there for the short term. Luke Shaw would be a more of a long term Manchester United purchase, Evra mentoring him for the next few years. Buttner would also be useful understudy. This again would be Moyes scurrying back to his comfort zone and us sticking with playing “slinging” in crosses into the box.
      United needs to evolve and with Fellaini looking like a poor purchase, signing player from smaller clubs especially with no winning track record, the intensity at that age may be a adjustment too far.
      Also we need midfield players more.

      • @Stephen: I remember I had different view to you about Buttner and you asked me what was wrong with him.

        At the time he was lacking in confidence and didn’t really inspire much hope in me.

        He would get the ball and turn and play himself into a corner, too affraid to face the big bad world.

        But this season he seems to have gotten the basics down and I would definitely try him every now and then.

        Buttner is a worthy deputy in my book right now.

        • @The_Philosopher: The issue I have with buttner is I just think he’s as much a liability at defending as evra is at the moment. Great attacking LM but not good enough at LB for me.

  • However much I like evra, got to say at times now he’s becoming a defensive liability.He’s been a great servant but needs to be replaced.A lot of people go on about luke shaw, but im not convinced he’s the answer. For me baines is.All his attributes have already been stated so I don’t think I could add anymore.His age doesn’t bother me. He’s in the prime of his career and still got a good 4 years at this standard. Where as with shaw your buying good with potential, with baines your buying the finished article, like we did with Rvp.The only downsides are the cost and the Everton connection. After the debacle of the summer,its proved thar kenwright wants a premium price for his best player, so are we prepared to pay it?.The Everton issue is another problem for me. The thought of moyes keep on going back to his previous club doesn’t sit well with me.Who’s next, mirallas, jagielka?.There’s know doubt baines is one of the best lb in the world,so if we dommake a move for him, from a footballing point of view, it would be a good move, just the other issues I’m not sure about.

  • The best thing you can say about Baines is that unlike Fellaini (who has been an incredible disappointment) he would definitely improve our team.

    Luke Shaw is an interesting prospect but we do need some experience in our defence and Baines could be a future captain and Shaw wouldn’t be cheap and probably cost the best part of £20M.

    • @colver: Evra is a proven International and vice captian, our midfield is awful. I fail to see how Baines would improve our side much more, Fellaini should have improved our midfield.
      Aslo we are not Chelsea or City and frittering away £20m would be foolish.

      • @Stephen: I think it will happen though, Steve.
        Baines is a marked man in Moyes’ crosshairs and he will eventually get him.
        One thing I have to say about Baines is that although he is a good attacking fullback (much more accurate crosser than Evra), he is a very conscientious defender – Moyes has taught him that.

  • Stephen, I do understand your point and I do balk at the valuation. But if we have £20M to spend what else can we do with it? Buying more average midfielders would do nothing to solve our problems and we’ve seen already our inability to attract top midfielders such as Fabregas. I’d love it if we could sign someone like Vidal, Gundogan, Alonso or even more realistic options like Matic, Draxler, Gustavo, or Fernando. But it just isn’t going to happen on Moyes’ watch.

    In retrospect we should have anticipated Fellaini would flop. Moyes ruined him at Everton turning him into an attacking midfield/battering ram and we should have realized that he was far too lazy and his tendency to foul would hurt us in Europe. Everton have done just fine without him and their ease at replacing him just goes to show that he wasn’t all that.

    Baines is on the cusp of breaking into the England team and has been Mr Consistency the past couple seasons and he fits into the mould of United full backs who defend and attack.

    Evra is still a good player but he will need replacing eventually and cannot play every game. In addition Baines could give us cover on the left wing.

  • I cant help thinking that Luke Shaw would be the better investment. The problem is he still very young and relatively inexperienced. In the meantime Evra is still good but an increasing liability defensively. Buttner seems no more than a poor man’s version of Evra. If we signed Baines to overcome the weaknesses of the incumbents then it might mean missing out on Shaw. Yet another conundrum for Moyes. So much easier when he had no money and a small squad at Everton!

    • @Julian: Julian – the meantime is until the end of this season! A replacement for Evra is Job 1 and Moyes knows it. If there is no spending limits set to Moyes, the cost of Baines is arbitrary. If, however, that kind of spending cuts into the budget for investment in the midfield of central defense, I would be horrified.

  • Many of you forget that we all thought Fellaini would improve our midfield until…well. Baines is a good player at Everton. Will he be able to take a step up to Utd? Ask Fellaini, it is not so easy. You’re all right, we need to replace Evra. £20m for a man who has seen his best and will be on a decline from henceforth is unwise in my opinion. On top of that, there are no assurances that Baines wouldn’t struggle in a club like Utd. The writer mentioned Baines ability with crossing and forgot to add that Evra has improved on that seriously this season. I guess it was Moyes’ doing, and he can do that with any other good LB (Buttner against Norwich showed good signs). Also, in all sincerity, I’ve seen Baines struggle defensively against the top sides; he’s not too far off from Evra in that regard. In summary, Man Utd is a different ball game compared to Everton; those who thought Fellaini would walk straight into the Utd midfield have had to rethink their stands now. A better investment would be Luke Shaw. Let’s have him in his formative years up until his best. Baines will start declining after this season. This is not the best time to pay £20m for him. Evra has served us well and would leave, but we should not make another Fellaini mistake; expensive, but ineffective!

  • 1. Crossing….Crossing forms only a small part of our attacking prowess. Or, at least it should. Unless Moyes is looking to concentrate fully on ONLY creating scoring chances from crosses, which does seem to be the case. One dimensional.
    2. Set pieces….We already have some excellent free kick takers in our ranks. Rooney and RVP are two of the best. but Again, free kicks are only a small part of our attacking arsenal. Unless set pieces are to be a key feature of Moyes’ game plan.
    3. Age…Baines is not far off 30. The prices being talked about are absolutely absurd for a player of his age and ability. Almost criminal. Given what Moyes spent of Fellaini, surely one of the biggest flops in Prem history, I hope the board are watching closely what he spends his money on. The money being talked about could EASILY buy a younger, better option who would have more than a couple of years in him.
    4. Defending. I’ve seen Baines getting caught out of position as often as Evra. Evra’s defensive abilities stand up to Baines’ every time.
    5. Just better…But he isn’t.

    This is another glaring indication that Moyes is struggling. He can literally only think of Everton. Fellaini has already proven to be a complete flop, as predicted by many. We need creative influence in MF, not a ludicrously over priced, ageing LB. Moyes need to use this transfer window to distance himself from his Everton way of thinking, not dive right in and bring a bit more Everton mediocrity.
    We absolutely do not need Baines.

    • @BigRed: On balance you are right but almost certainly Moyes will go for Baines and hope to get three or four seasons out of him. This would mean we miss out on Shaw who would be a far better long term bet. I think I would prefer the latter and let him understudy Evra. Buttner can then be jettisoned as he’s no better than Evra in any respect – inferior in fact, except age.

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