Transfer Window: What Signing Baines Would Mean for Man Utd's Other Left-Backs
Manchester United have reportedly already made an unsurprising bid for the ever-improving English left-back, Leighton Baines. Everton shot down the reported £12 million offer, but this will not be the last time we hear of the possible move.
The reasons behind the move are obvious. David Moyes has worked with Baines before and the England left-back was arguably the best full-back in the Premier League last season. Better even than Ashley Cole and Man Utd’s current left-back Patrice Evra, who himself had a good season.
If Baines does make the switch to Old Trafford from Goodison Park, not only would this mean Man Utd have improved the squad, but it will be a good indication of what will happen to the champions’ other players of the same position. Not only will Evra be effected, but there is also Rafael Da Silva’s twin brother Fabio and Dutch left-back Alexander Büttner to think about.
What would this transfer mean for those Manchester United already have? Who will leave and who will stay?
In 2006 Manchester United captured the signature of French left-back Patrice Evra from Monaco for £5.5 million. His first half-season at Old Trafford was indifferent, but his Man Utd career kicked into gear during the 2006/07 campaign when the Red Devils reclaimed the Premier League title for the first time in four seasons.
Since then, Evra has helped Man Utd to four more league titles and a Champions League victory in 2008. In 2009, he was named in the FIFPro World XI and the UEFA team of the year.
However, at the age of 32, Evra's time at Old Trafford would come to an end if Baines is signed. The Frenchman's campaign may have signaled a resurgence after a dip in form the previous season, so a move to the bench would not be welcomed by the veteran.
He still has plenty to give as a starting left-back despite his age, but the arrival of a younger and more impressive left-back (over the past year, anyway) chosen by the new manager will mean Evra's spell at Old Trafford will be over.
A return to Monaco is most likely. The emerging money power in France could do a lot worse than Patrice Evra, and the Frenchman has already been linked with a move back to his former club.
Fabio Da Silva
Fabio Da Silva was considered to be the better of the two brothers when he arrived at Old Trafford. Unfortunately for the young Brazilian, injuries have plagued his progress while his brother Rafael has thrived and become one of the Premier League's better right-backs and one of the best young players in the league.
If it were not for injuries, Moyes may not even need Baines. Assuming Fabio would progress just like his identical twin, having the Brazilian duo performing week-in and week-out on opposite sides would have provided Man Utd with unparalleled consistency in often difficult positions to fill.
Injuries continued to hamper his progress during a largely unsuccessful loan spell at Queens Park Rangers. His time at Loftus Road as a result did not provide the 22-year-old with what he needed in terms of experience, which was a full season without more injury woes.
As far as his performances go, Fabio showed all the inexperience seen in his brother before Rafael became Man Utd's starting right-back. While he would not have convinced most fans he has a future at Old Trafford, performances in the second half of the season provided a glimmer of hope.
This could go either way and depends on whether David Moyes is cruel enough to separate brothers, who could only be closer if they were conjoined, or is willing to give Fabio one last crack of the whip. He would undoubtedly be an understudy to Leighton Baines, but some healthy squad rotation and cup appearances could help the young Brazilian on his way.
Alexander Büttner has only been at Old Trafford just short of a year, and the 24-year-old Dutchman only made 13 appearances in total for Man Utd all season. His five appearances in the league were quite fruitful for the attacking left-back, however. He managed two goals in the few league games he played, including one on his debut against Wigan Athletic.
The signing of Baines would leave Büttner in limbo in terms of his preferred position, but there could be another option for the flying Dutchman. The former Vitesse man has demonstrated in his short spell at Man Utd he is very much an attacking left-back. He makes darting runs down the wing whenever he gets the chance and his debut goal against the Latics showed off some impressive dribbling skills.
These attributes could provide Moyes an opportunity to experiment with Büttner in a more advanced role at left-mid. Both Ashley Young and Nani have been far from impressive over the past season, so there could be a chance to prove to the new boss his worth in a new position.
As far as his role as a defender, with Evra probably on his way to Monaco if Baines does make the move to Old Trafford, it will be between Fabio and Büttner for the role as understudy. Both men are in their twenties and are at a stage where they need regular squad rotation, or consistent first-team football. Büttner in particular, at the age of 24, will need to make regular appearances for his own sake. A transfer away from Old Trafford could be the only way for him.