Football Digest: Analysing Man Utd's failed recruitment
Manchester United are reportedly expected to agree a one-year contract with Jonny Evans. The decision could have a disastrous impact on Harry Maguire’s prospects of continuing at Old Trafford, with the former club captain staring down the barrel of a season spent almost entirely on the sidelines.
Maguire made only 16 Premier League appearances last term as manager Erik ten Hag routinely selected Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as his starting centre-back partnership.
By the end of the campaign, it became clear that Victor Lindelof was also above Maguire in the pecking order. Even Luke Shaw – a left-back by trade – was getting minutes instead of the Englishman down the home stretch.
And things could get even worse for the 30-year-old as The Telegraph claim that United are set to hand Evans a one-year contract.
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The former West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City defender started training with United’s Under-21s earlier this summer in order to keep fit. But a positive impression left on Ten Hag is set to see him extend his stay.
Evans, 35, came through United’s academy and spent 11 years on the books before joining West Brom in 2015. The veteran centre-back made just shy of 200 first-team appearances during his first spell at Old Trafford.
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Ten Hag bringing him back into the fold could spell trouble for Maguire, with six recognised centre-backs currently in the squad. Varane and Martinez are set continue in the first XI, while Evans will join Lindelof, Maguire and Bailly as back-up options.
United will surely look to offload at least one central defender before next week’s transfer deadline. Bailly looks destined to depart, but the Red Devils’ hierarchy could ramp up their efforts to find Maguire a new home too after he was stripped of the captaincy earlier this summer.
The former Leicester star was all set to join West Ham in a £30million deal before the move fell through. The Hammers have now signed Konstantinos Mavropanos from Stuttgart instead.
Pinning down Evans for the season ahead should allow Ten Hag to forget about defensive recruitment over the coming days. United had previously shown strong interest in Benjamin Pavard, but the Bayern Munich star now appears destined to join Inter Milan.
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