Patrice Evra set to leave Manchester United for Monaco?

Alex Livesey

Patrice Evra is reportedly set to leave Manchester United to sign for AS Monaco, as David Moyes attempts to bring Leighton Baines to Old Trafford.

ESPN today resurrect the old 'Patrice Evra to AS Monaco' rumours, adding in the fact that Leighton Baines will be our new left-back means we can afford to get rid of him when that deal's done.

They say that David Moyes wants to push through the Baines move because we want a signing to accompany our new managerial appointment. That's unlikely to happen, since every other report on the story suggests there'll be few developments in this story in the next few days, and £10m to £20m is a big gap in value between the clubs to be worked out - hopefully too big, but more on that elsewhere.

The final part of this is that "Evra has been discussing the possibility of a move back since mid-April." Now, I think Patrice Evra's declined in recent years and we could certainly do better there. After an initially alarming drop in form, he's now back to his best at going forward, but is still not up to scratch defensively. The low point probably came when he was given the run-around by Wayne Routledge. So, in terms of him leaving, that's OK.

Here's something though: we've taken the man for granted. Not only was he a ludicrous athlete, probably the best at the club. Performing such a physically demanding role and barely missing a minute of football in four years is simply a superhuman feat, and combined with his incredible pace and even aerial ability, when he was on form he was a superb defender. He wasn't the greatest crosser, but his attacking play had versatility - a well-timed explosive run from deep could rip a defence apart more severely than the best ball into the box, and he could take on opponents. Latterly, he even added goals (albeit from set-pieces) to his game.

In addition to all of that, Evra's probably been one of the most likeable guys at the club in recent times. He stood up to Luis Suarez and was usually pretty candid and open when giving interviews. He simply got United, in a way that very few players do - in the way that made us love Ruud van Nistelrooy, and start thinking that was about Robin van Persie.

Because of that, he'll be much missed if he does go. Especially if we choose to spend so much on replacing him with a man who has precisely none of that athleticism or reliability, for whom 'character' doesn't mean standing up to racists but liking indie bands. Evra's departure in itself makes a lot of sense, but there have been few players in recent years we'd have been more glad to have on our side. If this happens, please join me and pour one out for the guy.

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