The season before last I got into an argument with a City mate who claimed Gael Clichy was currently the best left back in the world- probably based on a stormer against Blackburn. My immediate response to such a bold statement was “Real Madrid have TWO left backs better than Clichy.”
While there’s a valid argument that Clichy was performing admirably and at least asking the question, Fábio Coentrão was my own personal choice as he’d even surpassed Marcelo- a player I would happily have seen at United, despite my love for Patrice Evra.
Coentrão hasn’t enjoyed the best of times last season for Real Madrid but part of the problem is the naturally attacking full back has been reigned in somewhat by Jose Mourinho who’s less than keen to see him bombing forward with Cristiano Ronaldo certain to provide zero cover when he does so.
Against United in the Bernabeu we saw what Coentrão could do and it was only through the superb keeping of David De Gea that the Portuguese full back failed to get on the scoresheet. Let’s not pretend that Coentrão is perfect, at times his defensive qualities have been questioned but more often than not these are blown way out of proportion due to several factors. First of all his biggest error came at the worst possible moment against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi final when he allowed Phillip Lahm to go past him with ease to set up Mario Gomez for the winner in the first leg.
Since that fateful night Coentrão has been on a bit of a hiding to nothing with many Madrid fans who’ve never forgiven him and partly blamed him for the club’s recent lack of success, making him one of many scapegoats.
Coentrão it seems has had enough recently noting:
“From the first day I do not think I was wanted here.
“Today it seems that everyone wants me to leave the club. I do not know what I have done wrong.
“We must find a solution that is good for both the club and myself, so that no one will lose out.”
“If I leave Real Madrid, I do not close the door to anyone,”
Coentrão could be the sort of experienced left back with age on his side – he’s only 25- that United need. Fabio or Alexander Buttner seem to be the heirs apparent to Patrice Evra but neither of them is arguably quite ready yet and for many the jury is still out on both. A player like Coentrão could make an immediate impact, perhaps giving one of the younger players a chance to go out on loan for a season and gain some valuable first team experience- more so than afforded Fabio at QPR. There’s even the option of using Coentrão as a winger should Evra recreate the season he’s just enjoyed, or perhaps Fabio prove he’s ready to take over the left back spot sooner than we think.
Chelsea are apparently sniffing around him, no doubt Jose Mourinho would love to take a player he knows only too well to Stamford Bridge, but that move is far from certain and should United act swiftly there’s no reason Coentrão couldn’t be obtainable.
On his day Coentrão is still one of the best left backs in the world and despite his recent trials and tribulations- who can forget the dugout fiasco against Espanyol, almost any side in Europe would be happy to have him, a move to Old Trafford could rejuvenate a career that only 15 months ago looked destined to hit the very highest peaks.
If we can forget about a certain left back arriving from Goodison, wouldn’t a move for Coentrão make sense all round?
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