Transfer news: Manchester United 'preparing for exit' of Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher with Phil Jones set to be given new contract
Evra is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a return to mainland Europe while Fletcher could be one of those deemed expendable in David Moyes' rebuild
Tuesday 25 March 2014
Manchester United could see two more long-serving stars leave the club in the summer in the shape of Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher, with David Moyes believed to making contingency plans in case of their exit.
The United squad is set to go under a huge reconstruction after their dismal showing in the Premier League this season, and Evra is one of a number of high profile players who is out of contract this summer.
Captain Nemanja Vidic has already confirmed he will leave the club after agreeing to join Inter Milan, while questions remain over the future of Rio Ferdinand, who is currently considering his options with the belief that broadcaster BT Sport have lined the former England international up as their chief football analyst.
Evra has been linked with a return to his homeland with both Paris St-Germain and AS Monaco, and while United are believed to be hopeful on keeping the Frenchman for another season, their interest in Everton left-back Leighton Baines last season signalled they are ready to bring in a replacement should they feel the need.
Evra could also look at moving to Italy along with Vidic, and while a final destination is unknown at present, his family are said to be keen on moving back to mainland Europe.
While Evra’s departure would bring the curtain down on an eight-year career at Old Trafford, Fletcher’s exit would be all the more emotional, given he has been with the club since his youth days, having joined the academy in 1995.
United would rather not sell Fletcher given his recent return to action after a chronic bowel condition that kept him sidelined for the best part of 17-months., but the belief is that he would be one of the players Moyes would be willing to sell in order to rebuild his own squad.
Part of Moyes’ plans appears to be securing the future of utility player Phil Jones, with The Guardian reporting that he is set to be handed a new contract despite having two years to run on his current five-year deal.
Contract talks are expected to be opened in the summer and with Jones keen to commit his future to the soon-to-be dethroned league champions, there are no problems expected in agreeing an extension.
Moyes’ troubles at the back have been well documented recently, with Rio Ferdinand expected to follow Vidic out of the club as his contract is also up at the end of the season, while centre-back Chris Smalling has been disciplined for the second time this season after being snapped singing in the streets of Manchester on a night out early Saturday morning.
Jones has failed to secure a designated position so far in his United career, but Moyes feels that he can learn his trade as a defensive midfielder before settling down as a regular centre-back.
Moyes has previous said that he sees “Jones settling in at centre-back and, in time, he will become a very good centre-back but I think, right now, he is a very good defensive midfield player which we might need in some games”. Having been a somewhat surprising £17m addition from Blackburn Rovers in June 2011, Jones labelled the move a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, and his time so far with the club has seen him impress at times while also appearing to be caught out at others.
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