SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 20: Patrice Evra of France controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Switzerland and France at Arena Fonte Nova on June 20, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.

Patrice Evra nearing Juventus move after asking to leave Manchester United


Manchester United looks set for a third major departure from its defense, with Patrice Evra closing in on a move to Juventus. According to reports out of England, the 33-year-old has requested to end his eight-year tenure with the club, with the Italian champions expected to pay $3.4 million to secure his transfer.

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand hav already left the Red Devils on free transfers (to Inter Milan and Queens Park Rangers, respectively), but having exercised a one-year option on Evra at the end of last season, United appeared intent on keeping the France international. Evra, however, has made it clear he’d like to move for personal reasons, with his wife hoping for a move away from the Manchester area.

On the field, United has already prepared for Evra’s departure, having signed Southampton fullback Luke Shaw earlier this summer. Evra’s place in the dressing room, however, is reported as one of the reasons the Red Devils wanted to extend his stay.

Evra, however, intent on moving on. From The Guardian:

At the close of last season United exercised an option on Evra’s contract to extend his stay at the club for a further year. While the 33-year-old has not made an official transfer request, Evra asked that the United should not stand in his way, a request to which the club have reluctantly acceded.

The left-back has decided that, due to his wife wishing to move away from the area, the time is right to end a United career in which he has won five Premier Leagues, the Champions League and three League Cups.

The Guardian also reports Juventus has offered Evra a two-year deal worth $4.7 million per year.

From both Manchester United and Evra’s points of view, the deal looks like a no-brainer, provided the veteran’s willing to move. While United may have wanted to keep him, that view should have changed knowing Evra wants to go. And for the player, an extra season at good wages playing for a Champions League team makes for an attractive deal.

Not to mention the fact Evra may see more playing time. With Kwadwo Asamosh at left wing back for Juventus, there’s no guarantee Evra would start, but Antonio Conte’s new defender could also be used on the left of Juve’s three-man central defense. At United, not only is Evra highly unlikely to see time in a central pair, but Shaw’s acquisition could outright block him.

With the possible exception of the wages Juventus will pay, it’s a deal that makes sense for all involved. Eight years is a long time, but at this point, it’s time for Evra (and United) to move on.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
1 Comment

Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.