Following his goal against the “wee club in the north,” some Manchester United fans have reopened the rumor of Leighton Baines joining – but there is no need for that.
The Everton left-back hit an absolute screamer in their 2-1 win over Newcastle United, but there are few reasons we do not need him at Old Trafford.
The main reason is that he wouldn’t correct our defensive miscues that we have had this season; we already have one of the best left-backs in the Premier League this season; his lofty price tag considering his age; and we have two very good growing full-backs who have the chance to flourish in the coming seasons.
Yes, Baines is a very good full-back and would help United in certain areas — free-kicks and penalties come to mind — but Patrice Evra has been phenomenal over the last two to three months of this season. With the system that United have played, and the lack of protection in front of them, Baines would face the same issue. My main issue is that Baines may not understand the pressure of United playing cup finals week in, week out — some players can’t handle that. He struggled mightily when he first moved.
Baines is not only slower and less athletic, he is also shorter than Evra. Yes, height doesn’t mean all that much, considering Evra has scored three of his four goals off headers, but it does when you trying to defend a cross from the other flank and you are marking the opposing team’s center forward. There is a problem with our center-backs not holding their positions and showing too much eagerness to shift to one side. This, in turn, exposes the opposite side of the defense from where the cross is coming in.
In terms of dependability, they are both stalwarts in the respective teams, with Evra making 130 appearances since the start of 2009/10, and Baines 129. Could we have both at United? Yes, we rotate the squad pretty regularly — but not Evra, who is the vice captain and has played the most over the last 3-1/2 seasons.
Many people think that Baines is 25-years old, but he recently turned 28 — just three years younger than Evra. For 15m, he is not worth it, and the money would be spent more wisely in other areas of the field. Maybe another striker? According some of these trusting journalists these days, Sir Alex Ferguson bid 12m for him in the summer, but balked when Everton wanted 3m more. Some will say that is foolish and we should’ve just paid it. If you do that, you are subjecting yourself to overpay every single time — kind of like those noisy neighbors do.
The final reason we shouldn’t be tempted to get Baines? We have both Fabio, 22, and Alex Buttner, 23, who both have the ability and desire to become first-team regulars at United – and their fees, combined, are probably less than what the club would pay Baines in salary. Fabio has always been touted as the better of the two da Silva twins, and we are seeing what Rafael is doing on the right, so there is no question that once he gets over his injuries, he can be just as dominant. We saw a glimpse of what Buttner can do on his debut, and even though he is still very raw as a defender, his upside is there.
Leighton Baines is a terrific left-back and offers a lot for our troubled areas, but Manchester United have three players – Patrice Evra, Fabio and Alex Buttner – who are, or will be, just as capable, so the money would be better spent elsewhere.
This piece was contributed by @united_religion.
Image source: The Telegraph