Fabio Da Silva’s long-rumoured loan to QPR has gone through this week. The move might not be enough to arouse Jim White but it could have a significant impact on Manchester United’s fortunes. So what ramifications might this have on our squad?
1) Could it be the making of our next left back?
Initial response from fans has been positive for an obvious reason. Despite being billed as the more capable twin, Fabio’s time with us has been riddled with injury and decidedly stop start. The Champions League final appearance shines like a beacon of hope of what may be. The main thing for the young lad at this stage of his career is games to iron out the inconsistencies in his game and transform him into a Premier League regular. If, as hoped, Fabio da Silva performs well during his season away, we could see a return of Welbeckian proportions. Just the tonic as an ageing Evra requires replacing.
2) Could a year be too long for Patrice?
In light of Carrick’s resurgence, Evans’ rise and Gibson’s departure; a vacancy appeared for whipping boy. Patrice Evra was the unlikely candidate. It is always difficult to see a once great player begin to decline but it is a sad inevitability. Much of the criticism of the Frenchman has been unfair but even his greatest acolytes can’t ignore the fact that he is plainly a less effective full back than he once was. Although rightly supportive in public, Ferguson acknowledged the decline in the full back’s powers of recovery when asking his centre backs to switch sides to compensate. Rafael, Evans and even Ryan Giggs could do a job at left back but none at this stage could be expected to perform better as Evra’s understudy than the departing Brazilian. As Evra ages, so increases the chances of his body failing him at a crucial stage of the season. The sheer amount of football the stand-in Captain has been asked to play is hastening his decline and if we really are to enter the season with one senior left back it seems an unnecessary risk for the manager to take.
3) Could room be being made for a new arrival?
Internet rumours of a new full back are second only to a new central midfielder in the United transfer stakes. Leighton Baines is the latest name to fill the forums and newspaper columns as the man most likely to add to reinforce our back-line. Months earlier had been dominated by Debuchy and Cline, but the departure of Fabio seems to indicate that any new defensive arrival would be a left-sided player. I’ll leave it to other writers to run the rule over potential replacements but it would in my view be a surprise if an expensive international were brought in to directly compete with our vice-captain. However we’d do well to remember Ferguson’s ruthlessness and lack of sentimentality. Indeed the last left back to wear the captain’s armband believed himself to be an untouchable hero of the fans when a young little heralded left back was surprisingly recruited from Monaco in January. The one aspect from Heinze’s story that we can safely assume won’t be repeated by Evra is an attempt to force through a move to Merseyside.
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Tom is a southern dwelling Kendalian who is one of our editors and a weekly guest on the podcast. He has an unhealthy obsession with Jaap Stam and despite 20 years of success never expects United to win.