Speculation is rife that Everton left back Leighton Baines has opened discussions with Manchester United over a £12m move to Old Trafford.
Baines, 27, is regarded as one of the best left backs in the Premier League and has been a consistent performer for David Moyes’ side since his move to Goodison Park from Wigan in 2007. Baines is a regular in the England squad but is unfortunately stuck behind Ashley Cole and has seen few chances due to Cole’s presence.
Manchester United are looking to strengthen this summer having lost out on the title due to Sergio Aguero’s dramatic last gasp winner for bitter rivals Manchester City, and Baines is rumoured to be one of their top targets.
On the face of it, this may look like a strange move. United have had constant troubles at right back yet have Patrice Evra on the left side of the defence. Why would United move for another left back instead of strengthening the opposite side of the defence?
Well I think that Evra has regressed over the last couple of season. He’s lost a bit of pace which is understandable given his age (31) and isn’t looking as sure defensively as he has done in previous years. Bringing in a long term replacement would be smart business given that Fabio hasn’t quite developed how the club wanted him to.
But would Baines go? He’s a mainstay in the Everton team and would be switching to a team where he may not be the immediate first choice left back. Who knows how much Evra has got left in the tank? What if he can play for another three, four or even five years? If this was to happen then it’d be a waste of a great talent and ultimately a serious lack of careful spending by Manchester United – a team with well documented financial issues.
Baines is a very good player and I doubt many will argue that, but a move to United seems strange right now. In any other situation, Baines would be a great signing. But with Evra still around I can’t see why United would spent what little money they have on a another left back. What might swing it for Baines himself though is that at the age of 27, how many more chances will he get to make his big move?
If Baines does move, I’d rather he went somewhere like Arsenal, where he is almost certainly guaranteed of first team football. Andre Santos was just a stop gap signing in my opinion and having lost Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy in recent years, Arsenal need a consistent left back in their defence. Meanwhile, I think United would be better served spending their money on a right back like Gregory van der Wiel or Lukasz Piszczek.
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