Manchester United Transfer News: Patrice Evra's Inter Switch a Big Blow for Reds

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

Manchester United's Patrice Evra during the English Premier League soccer match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, Saturday, March 8, 2014.  (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Patrice Evra's expiring contract creates yet another upcoming void for Manchester United to fill at the end of the current campaign, with reports now suggesting the left-back will follow Nemanja Vidic to Inter.

The Mirror's Liam Prenderville sites a report for The Sun claiming that the Frenchman will be on his way to the San Siro when he finds himself out of contract in three months' time:

Boss David Moyes is already seeking replacements for the experienced Frenchman, who is one of several United players expected to depart.

And according to the Sun, Evra will head to the San Siro and link up with current colleague Vidic.

It's but the latest piece of transition in a Manchester United squad that's ever growing further away from the squad that's brought the club such illustrious glory days over the last decade.

Nevertheless, it's a change that David Moyes now has to deal with, heaping further responsibility on the Scot to bounce the club back into title contention, inheriting a team from Sir Alex Ferguson that's now showing the full extent of its weaknesses.

Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press

Despite his age, 32-year-old Evra will be a missed figure at Old Trafford. Granted, his advanced years have meant that the full-back has lost a step or two over the course of the last few seasons, but he's remained a respected figure on both the club and international scene throughout.

OptaJean testifies that the player remains a reliable part of Les Bleus' line-up:

The Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson testifies as to just how essential Evra's presence is in United's tactics:

Squawka show that in 27 appearances this season, Evra has made 34 scoring opportunities for the Red Devils, second only to Wayne Rooney in chance creation, claiming three assists in the process.

That tally is the highest of any defender in the Premier League this season, and the case is still there for United to offer Evra an extension at the Theatre of Dreams, were the debate based on performances alone.

Thibault Camus/Associated Press

However, it would appear Moyes will have to look elsewhere for a new guardian at left-back, just as the diminishing involvement of Vidic and Rio Ferdinand will require new bastions in central defence.

However, the case is more dire on the left side of the defence. Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling have already earned a great deal of playing time in the middle, but the likes of Fabio and Alexander Buttner have failed to make any sort of dent on Evra's place in the squad over the last few years.

Therefore, it's foreseeable that Moyes will seek to dip into the transfer market as part of his recruitment drive once again this summer.

It had been supposed that Leighton Baines would be the man to eventually fill Evra's boots. However, Moyes' former Everton charge seemingly ruled that possibility out by signing a contract extension with Everton in January, per Adam Shergold and Dominic King of the Daily Mail.

Evra's contributions to the United cause aren't purely attacking, either, as has proven to be the case with so many modern full-backs. According to Squawka, the veteran has also made an average of eight defensive actions per game this season, while right-back counterpart Rafael has managed an average of just six.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United tries to keep the ball in play during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on January 28, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Evra's eight years in England haven't always been synonymous with success, but in the end, his reputation will remain that of a rounded, secure option in defence, and one that the club will find very difficult to replace.

However, that's just one of the challenges that Moyes will have been aware of upon assuming his place as Ferguson's successor, with this summer poised to test the transfer nuance of the former Toffees helmsman in a way that last year's did not.