Patrice Evra - 273 appearances for Manchester United, 16 major honours and 61 caps across ten years with France.
The 33 year-old’s credentials are unrivalled and yet he wants more. His switch to Juventus last month was motivated by ambition, rather than a desire to wind down his illustrious career.
Evra, like Ashley Cole and Nemanja Vidic, has left the Premier League to play with greater regularity, but also to win.
After nine seasons at Manchester United, it would have been easy for him to accept his place as a mentor to new £30 million signing Luke Shaw. Instead, he has chosen to challenge himself.
“It was very difficult to leave Man United because it was like my second family," he said, as reported by the BBC. “But as soon as I knew there was interest from Juve, I knew it would be a new challenge for me because I have to repay the faith they showed in me.”
For Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta, signing Evra was no gamble: “He’s 33 so brings great experience to our team. Beyond his technical capabilities, we chose him because he has played in a culture at Manchester United that is a lot like ours – we win.”
Former Juventus Coach Antonio Conte brought back the winning culture Marotta outlines to the Old Lady, with three consecutive League titles. For his replacement, Massimiliano Allegri, the challenge is to maintain that success and having the likes of Evra at his disposal can only help.
The Dakar native’s arrival not only further swells the vast wealth of experience that is already in the Juventus dressing room, but also gives Allegri a key component for his expected tactical reshuffle.
The former Milan Coach is yet to settle on a new system. In pre-season, he has used both a back four and a back three - the system Conte implemented so successfully.
For either formation, Evra could prove invaluable. In a four, he is a natural at left full-back and showed at the World Cup that he is a much more assured defender than the one that was occasionally exposed at Manchester United last season - while with a three, he can operate as the left centre-back or at wing-back.
It is in that role where Evra can perhaps improve Juventus. He may not be as dynamic or explosive as Kwadwo Asamoah, but he offers guarantees defensively and would perhaps ensure the team’s shape is better balanced.
“I started my career playing largely within the 3-5-2 system but then I adapted to playing in a four man defence,” notes Evra. “I can do well with both systems of play.”
Helped by his “brother” and former Manchester United team-mate Carlos Tevez, Evra should settle quickly at Juventus. The Frenchman insists Juve are “a big family” and is confident that the club can help reestablish Italian football amongst Europe’s elite.
His experience, versatility and leadership suggests he could be Marotta’s most important summer recruit, while his hunger to seek out more success should ensure he instantly becomes an integral part of Allegri’s plans.
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