As Louis van Gaal begins life in the hottest of hot seats as Manchester United manager, a revolution begins.
Though former manager David Moyes took the brunt of the criticism after the club’s disastrous 2013/14 season, the performances from the players simply weren’t good enough, and a drastic change is needed immediately.
That change is certainly coming under the guidance of Van Gaal, and several major stars may well have already played their last games for the club.
Though French left-back Patrice Evra didn’t enjoy the best of seasons with United last term, he’s one of very few players who can come away from the campaign with a bit of pride.
The 33-year-old was a mainstay of United’s setup last year, but with 19-year-old Luke Shaw making the switch to Old Trafford, it looks like the Frenchman’s days in red are over.
Yahoo Sport’s report states that the Serie A champions will part with €2 million for the veteran, who was reportedly having second thoughts about the move recently.
After manager Antonio Conte left the club rather suddenly last week, Evra was said to have asked for a bit of time to reflect on the transfer, but he is now reportedly happy with new boss Massimiliano Allegri and will move in the coming days.
Evra’s transfer will mean the end of the long-standing defensive trio of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and himself at Manchester United, but a reunion with Vidic could be on the cards very soon.
It's painful to lose Vida. For me, he is a great centre-back. When you see a player like Vidic leaving the club, you feel really sad. When you speak about Vida, it’s like you’re speaking about myself. We joined the club together. I remember the first game was so hard. In one match, we played in the reserves together. We were so poor!
However, the pair will now lock horns in Serie A, and while Evra’s departure will mark the end of a left-back era for United, an exciting one begins at the same time.
Ashley Young and Wilfried Zaha
Out-of-favour wingers Ashley Young and Wilfried Zaha could also be packing their bags in the not-so-distant future, with places in United’s setup next season in doubt.
As Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reported, West Ham are looking to bring both players to Upton Park, with their crossing abilities from the wing appealing to the Hammers’ physical side.
Though undoubtedly two talented players, Young and Zaha both had poor seasons in 2013/14, with the latter failing to make an impact during a loan spell at Cardiff City.
Is Ashley Young good enough to be a Manchester United player?
Both now have the chance to impress Van Gaal and find the kind of form that put them in Manchester United shirts in the first place, but that would take a dramatic improvement.
Speaking in the middle of the season on ITV, United legend Roy Keane labelled Young “not good enough” after a poor display against Shakhtar Donetsk—reported via Metro: “They (United) had a couple of good chances through Ashley Young towards the end of the first half. He should certainly hit the target. I think it sums up his time at Man United, just not good enough.”
I would advise them (West Ham) to stay away from the man who doesn’t give two hoots about the team he’s playing for, he only cares about brand Zaha. Last season, when Cardiff City needed a player who would be selfless for the team, would give 100 per cent commitment they got a player who would rather do four step overs, beat a man just to lose the ball to the second defender, than actually pass to a player in a better position.
Though an exciting player, Zaha’s final product simply wasn’t good enough last season, providing just one assist for Cardiff in 12 appearances according to WhoScored.com.
At just 21 years of age, Zaha does still have room to grow, and maybe Van Gaal is the man to finally bring out his potential.
A year at West Ham wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing for either Young or Zaha, but if neither player is part of Van Gaal’s long-term plans then he should cash in on them while he still has the chance.