Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has announced the club are in discussions with Jonny Evans over a fresh contract, although their move for another defender is under threat.
On July 18, Man Utd surprisingly re-signed Evans on a short-term deal to see if he could make an impact during their pre-season matches. The centre-back went on to feature in Man Utd’s friendlies against Lyon, Wrexham, Borussia Dortmund and Athletic Club.
Evans has attempted to impress Ten Hag as he looks to make his first competitive Man Utd appearance since 2015. Of course, the 35-year-old came through Man Utd’s famed academy and made 198 senior appearances for the club between 2007 and 2015. In that time, the Red Devils won a host of trophies including one Champions League, three Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Evans’ brief Man Utd contract expires on August 31. But club officials want to have him tied down to a longer deal before then so that other teams cannot enter negotiations over his signing on a free transfer.
And Ten Hag has now confirmed that such talks are underway. The manager said (via Fabrizio Romano): “I’d like Jonny Evans to stay — there are discussions over [his] new deal.
“We are in talks and when we have news we will bring it as always. For this month he is under contract but we are talking.”
Should Evans complete a shock return to Old Trafford, then he will provide competition and backup for the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire.
Man Utd had been hoping to offload Maguire to West Ham in a £30million transfer. However, the Englishman has rejected that opportunity and wants to fight for his place at Man Utd.
Jonny Evans in, Eric Bailly out at Man Utd
Ten Hag also has Eric Bailly and Teden Mengi as available centre-backs in his squad. But it recently emerged that Man Utd are ready to take a £30m loss on Bailly by allowing him to go on a free this summer. As for Mengi, it is likely the 21-year-old will be loaned out to gain more experience at senior level.
In addition to Evans, Ten Hag wants Benjamin Pavard to join Man Utd and bolster his defence. Ten Hag even landed on the Bayern star as his ideal replacement for Maguire.
However, there is now the real prospect of Pavard heading elsewhere. Inter boss Simone Inzaghi has confirmed Pavard is on his list of summer targets.
Alternatively, Man Utd might miss out on the Frenchman to English rivals Arsenal. The Gunners have joined Man Utd in the race for Pavard following news of Jurrien Timber’s ACL injury.