Patrice Evra has asked Manchester United to be allowed to leave and end eight successful years at Old Trafford due to personal reasons, with the Frenchman effectively forcing through an expected £2m move to Juventus.
At the close of last season United exercised an option on Evra’s contract to extend his stay at the club for a further year. While the 33-year-old has not made an official transfer request, Evra asked that the United should not stand in his way, a request to which the club have reluctantly acceded.
The left-back has decided that, due to his wife wishing to move away from the area, the time is right to end a United career in which he has won five Premier Leagues, the Champions League and three League Cups.
Juventus are expected to pay £2m for him and offer around £55,000 a week in what will be an initial two-year deal.
With United out of Europe next season, Juventus can offer Evra Champions League football. Luke Shaw’s £28m transfer from Southampton also means Evra’s chances of regular first-team football would have been limited.
Given Evra’s leadership qualities and popularity in the dressing room his departure will be felt by Louis van Gaal, the incoming new manager, especially as he will follow Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in leaving the club. Van Gaal is seeking to make United challengers again after last season’s dismal title defence that ended with the team in seventh place.
If Evra does leave, Shaw will be the only recognised left-back at the club. Van Gaal’s options as a replacement include promoting from the Under-21s or entering the transfer market, with Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodríguez one potential candidate.
The 21-year-old Swiss featured in all four of Switzerland’s 2014 World Cup games and impressed in them. It would cost around £15m to prise him from the German club.
Thomas Vermaelen, the central defender whose future at Arsenal is in doubt and who has only a year left on his contract, can also play left-back. The Belgian is on Van Gaal’s radar as a possible replacement for Vidic and Ferdinand.