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Five possible replacements for Patrice Evra

Riccardo-RodriguezWith Patrice Evra’s move to Juventus set to be completed before the end of the week, Manchester United find themselves needing a left-back to provide cover for Luke Shaw, given the former Southampton man is currently the only option available in that particular role. However, given Shaw looked poised to be Louis Van Gaal’s first option at left-back, United do not necessarily need an older player to mentor the 19-year-old and could opt for another young prospect.

Here’s five players who could represent a valid alternative to Evra.

1) Ricardo Rodriguez

The Switzerland international was linked to United this week, with a German newspaper reporting that United had already submitted an offer for the Wolfsburg left-back.

Strong in the air, quick and armed with an excellent left foot – he delivered nine assists and netted five times in 34 Bundesliga game last season – the 21-year-old is one of the most promising left-backs in European football and after impressing for Wolfsburg last season – he was named in WhoScored’s best XI of the season – he delivered solid performances for Switzerland at the World Cup

The German outfit value Rodriguez at around £17m and do not need to sell at the moment, given Rodriguez’s deal expires in 2016 but their resolve could soon be tested. Having spent £30m on Luke Shaw, however, would United be happy to fork out more than £15m for another left-back?

2) Daley Blind

One of the many members of the Holland squad to have been linked with a move to United, Blind was one of the Oranje best performers at the World Cup, where he showed admirable versatility.

Deployed at left-back or as left wing-back for the national team by Van Gaal, the 24-year-old is a central midfielder by tried and can also be utilised as centre-back, a roles he’s successfully occupied for Ajax, courtesy of his good feet and of an excellent reading of the game, which compensates for a lack of pace.

With Van Gaal seemingly determined to bring in a few Dutch players at Old Trafford, will Blind leave Ajax – club where he’s spent the entirety of his career bar a short loan spell with Groningen – this summer?


3) Layvin Kurzawa

Playing in the role once occupied by Evra in the Principality, Kurzawa could soon follow the soon-to-be former United man’s path and break into the France team, where he will more than likely have to challenge Lucas Digne and Gael Clichy for the left-back spot once Evra retires from international football.

The 21-year-old French-Polish defender made his debut for Monaco in 2010, having spent three season in the club’s academy, and has since established himself as a regular in the starting XI, contributing with five goals and three assists in 28 league appearances last season. Fast and tactically very diligent – he can also be deployed as left midfielder or left wing-back in a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 – Kurzawa has represented France at U19, U20 and U21 level and has already attracted interest from Bayern Munich.

4) Sead Kolasinac

One of the most promising left-backs in the Bundesliga, Kolasinac gave a good account of himself at the World Cup, where he started games against Argentina and Iran.

Gifted with good pace and an excellent reading of the game, Kolasinac’s versatility – he can play as centre-back as well as defensive midfielder – has seen him rapidly emerging through the ranks at Schalke 04, club he joined in January 2011 when he left Stuttgart’s academy behind.

Kolasinac, who represented Germany at U20 level before opting to defend the colours of his parents’ homeland, has gone to make over 50 appearances for Schalke’s first team despite having only turned 21 in June and his performances have seen him linked with United, after club’s scouts had monitored him throughout the season.

The Bosnia international is under contract with the Bundesliga outfit until 2017 and could be available for just over £5m, thus probably worth a punt.


5) Marcel Schmelzer

While United’s interest this summer has focused on Mats Hummels, one of Schmelzer teammates for both club and country, the Borussia Dortmund left-back represents an excellent alternative for Evra and could also help Shaw’s development.

Having started as left-winger at Magdeburg, Schmelzer has been converted to left-back since moving to the Westfalenstadion and while he’s occasionally prone to allow his buccaneering instincts to have the better of him going forward, he’s a dependable figure in Dortmund’s back four, club with which he’s won two consecutive Bundesliga titles.

More experienced than the other candidates mentioned so far, Schmelzer, who had been linked with a move to Liverpool last summer, could also be the hardest to get to given he’s a pivotal figure in Jurgen Klopp’s plans and he’s extended his contract until 2017 only six months ago, not to mention he might not be happy to play second fiddle to Luke Shaw.



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