Date: 15th February 2011 at 12:38am
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Could Patrice's successor be part of a swap deal?

Could Patrice's successor be part of a swap deal?

If reports are to be believed then it looks like my favourite United player could well be emulating his predecessor and heading to the Bernabeu in the Summer.

Although it seemed far-fetched at first, the term ‘no smoke without fire’ springs to mind and there’s been plenty of that of late.

When I heard the rumours that Evra, was likely to be going the same route as Gabriel Heinze by moving to Real Madrid I quickly went through the ‘five stages of grief.’

First there was denial: “This can’t possibly be true, Evra, loves the club, the manager and the fans. That love is also reciprocated as you’d go a long way to find even the most critical Red who doesn’t love Evra.

Then came anger: “How dare he act just like any other money grabbing player- my Patrice, the man I’ve admired the most over the past few years, the one who’s genuinely been a contender for the best left back the club has ever seen, how could he decide he wants to leave?! Why doesn’t he just fook off now!”

After the anger had subsided came the bargaining: “Hopefully, we’ll win the treble before he goes, tell yuo waht I’ll settle for that, the treble for Evra,¬† or maybe if I fail this job interview then Evra will stay, tell you what I’ll happily not get this job if we keep Patrice.”

Eventually it led to depression, sort of: “what’s the point in even trying to keep any of our best players anymore they always break your heart, forget it, I’m not even going to the game today, well if I do go I’m not even drinking, well only a few.”

Finally now I’ve reached a kind of acceptance, Evra may well be heading for the exit door in the Summer but that doesn’t mean United have to suffer as badly as I once thought. Losing Evra would be a loss, but it needn’t be a massive one.

Watching Real Madrid this season one player who’s often impressed me is their left back Marcelo who’s enjoyed a consistent run of games in his natural position after playing everywhere from left wing to striker under previous coaches Juande Ramos and Manuel Pelligrini.

Marcelo is genuinely one of the best young defenders in the world and is a force to be reckoned with going forward as well as defensively. Like Evra, Marcelo made the shortlist for the FIFPRO World XI but didn’t make the final team, however his performances -from what I’ve seen- have often been nothing short of sensational.

With Evra turning 30 in may and Marcelo turning 23 around the same time, then a swap deal could be just what United need, after all, how much¬† would we get for Evra anyway? He may be the best left back in the world but with only one year left on his contract and being the wrong side of 30, it wouldn’t be a huge amount.

Don’t get me wrong, given the choice I’d rather the former French Captain stayed but it’s time to be pragmatic -I’ve done the denial thing as I mentioned earlier. The deal actually may sound too good to be true for United, after all would Mourinho really let one of his best young players leave? I believe he would, for several reasons. A 30 year old Evra would be at his peak and could be devastating in La Liga, which despite the presence of Barcelona is still not as quick or as strong as the Premier League,

Mourinho’s other option to get Evra- or for the Frenchman to get his move regardless of whether United want him to leave, would be to wait till his contract runs out in 2012. A year is an eternity in Spanish football and there’s every chance the Madrid love affair with the Special One- which has already had it’s wobbly moments, could have ended by then.

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Of course there’s always the possibility that Marcelo won’t want to leave Madrid, although if Robinho’s actions are anything to go by as soon as a Brazilian player feels unloved at the Bernabeu he isn’t the type to stick around. There’s the other chance that Madrid may want to sign Evra and keep Marcelo, who can also play on the wing, although with Mourinho’s preference for him at left back it wouldn’t seem unlikely that he would be too reluctant to lose him.

I genuinely hope Evra sees out his career at United, as Giggs, Scholes and to a lesser extent Neville have shown, the chances of trophies and being part of a successful team are high for United players in their thirties. I just feel it’s time to- grudgingly- accept he may be on his way, so why not try and get the very best deal possible?

There’s probably no left back in the world quite as good as Evra, but then again there aren’t that many better than Marcelo either. It could be the obvious answer to Sir Alex’s problem of replacing a legend like Evra.

Follow Redflagflyinghigh in twitter @RFFH and the writer of this article @jaymotty