Manchester United: If Baines Doesn't Come, Should Fabio Replace Evra?

Terry CarrollContributor IIIJune 24, 2013

Fabio Nurtured to Succeed Evra?
Fabio Nurtured to Succeed Evra?Clive Mason/Getty Images

Some have concluded that Manchester United's David Moyes will replace Patrice Evra with Leighton Baines, but both Roberto Martinez and Bill Kenwright are determined to keep him.

While the media often seems to take the easy option of predicting that a manager will return to his former club for players, there is a difference here.

Moyes must now be asking himself whether a player is a "Manchester United player".

This has two key connotations: first a player must have the right attitude and values, including wanting to stay for the long term; second they must be of the required quality and/or potential.

These are parameters that would have been uppermost in Sir Alex Ferguson's mind when Les Kershaw first spotted the Da Silva twins in 2005. A deal was agreed to in 2007; they signed in January 2008 but weren't able to play until their 18th birthday. 


Which twin is the better?

In fact, Kershaw thought that Fabio was the better of the two at first, but Rafael got the breaks, with Gary Neville moving towards retirement.

The twins are both two-footed, which is no surprise coming from Brazil. Indeed, you can almost imagine them arguing as kids who was going to play left and who right in a country that doesn't even play traditional full-backs.

Just think Cafu or Carlos Alberto on the right and Roberto Carlos or Marcelo on the left.

Sadly, Fabio's misfortune has continued into the Brazil team. Hardly surprising with Marcelo ahead of him. Nevertheless, his loyal brother thinks he should have played for the national team by now.

Both are enterprising attacking wing backs, and it could be argued that Fabio is the better defensively. After all, Rafael started life as a striker, evidenced by his stunning contender for Goal of the Season last term.

Harry Redknapp is a fan, having managed him at QPR last season. It is easy to forget that Fabio started the Champions League Final in 2011 against Barcelona.

And the tale of the statistics surely can't lie, as he shaded his more experienced twin, Rafael, in comparison over the whole of the 2012/3 season, according to EPL index.


Can Fabio replace Evra?

Again, according to EPL index, Fabio was the better defender, when compared to Evra last season. Was that because he was playing for a team under siege every match and therefore having to defend more? Or is Evra the better in an attacking mode?

Some United fans believe that Evra can be a defensive liability, being caught up-field too frequently, as he was in the ignominious defeat by Manchester City two seasons ago.

But although the stats from part of a season don't prove a thing, the EPL index review of the respective attacking prowess of Fabio and Evra suggest that his elder is the better.

Apart from the disparity between QPR and United, we must not forget that Fabio is almost 10 years younger than the man he hopes to succeed. If he had played right-back instead, would we have been having the same argument about Rafael?

There has been apparent interest in Evra from Monaco, which inevitably sparked speculation that Baines would be brought in to replace him.

But Moyes is a fair man. Why spend money you may not have to, especially when there are greater priorities, like midfield?

Then there is the position of Alexander Buttner. He was converted from a winger to full back at Vitesse Arnhem and a wide player who can defend would be a useful asset if he doubled up with Fabio. The overlaps would certainly be tasty.

You have to ask what Sir Alex's thinking was in buying Buttner at the last minute last year. Was it as potential successor to Evra; or, with Fabio going on loan to get Premier League experience, was he getting a squad player in as cover for United's most ever-present player over the last five seasons?

Irrespective, Fabio has far more EPL experience than Buttner, so why shouldn't the young Brazilian become first choice left back for United?

After all, Rafael has played for Brazil and was unfairly made the scapegoat for their Olympic Final defeat. Both are equally talented but Fabio is arguably the more versatile, having played on both flanks. 

Whether or not Evra leaves, surely Moyes must give Fabio his chance to shine if he doesn't buy Baines.


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