LONDON • Former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra says the club’s difficulties in the transfer market are the result of lawyers and not football people handling the negotiations.
United, who lost their Premier League opener 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho throughout the close season but they have yet to agree to a deal.
Sancho remains at Dortmund with United refusing to meet the German side’s €120 million (S$192 million) asking price, while there have been no reinforcements in defence ahead of a gruelling campaign that will see the Red Devils return to the Champions League.
So far, United have signed only midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax. The 23-year-old scored on his debut against Palace.
In a video posted on Instagram, ex-France international Evra contrasted United’s current approach, under chief executive Ed Woodward, with how the club was run when David Gill was CEO and Alex Ferguson the manager.
“When Manchester United needed a player they (went) and they talk(ed) to them face-to-face,” Evra, 39, said.
“When Ferguson and David Gill came to meet me at Monaco, it was worse than an interview from the CIA or FBI.
“But now my phone is ringing from a sporting director from (another) top football club and they say, ‘Patrice, can you please ask (contract negotiator) Matthew Judge to answer his phone’.
“People need to understand we send lawyers to talk to players. So when we send lawyers they talk about numbers – they are not people from the football world,” added Evra, who played for United from 2006 to 2014.
In two prominent cases, Dortmund beat United to the signature of Norway striker Erling Haaland and English midfielder Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City.
“We don’t have any (signings) because we send the wrong people to speak with them,” Evra said, contrasting United’s approach with how other clubs, such as Real Madrid, tackle recruitment.
“They send people who know the club, who love the club to talk about the club, not some lawyers who only talk about money.”
We don’t have any (signings) because we send the wrong people to speak with them.
PATRICE EVRA, ex-Man United defender, on lawyers speaking to transfer targets on behalf of the club.
Evra was not the only former United player to have publicly criticised the club’s transfer policy, with former defender Rio Ferdinand saying: “Sancho was talked about months ago. Still not done, it’s so frustrating.
“I’m not saying deals are easy to be done but Chelsea are showing deals can be done if you put the money down and it’s all done in the right way. That is what’s frustrating for me and all the Man United fans.”
Gary Neville, now a pundit for Sky Sports, called for the club to sign a centre-back urgently after seeing Victor Lindelof involved in all three goals conceded against Palace.
“We can talk about Sancho all we like but until United get a centre-back who can run and defend one-on-ones, they are never going to win the league,” he said.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE