Evra: Ferguson’s legacy is being destroyed
Former United player hits out at transfer chief Judge Frenchman claims ‘arrogant’ people are damaging the club
Patrice Evra has launched a scathing attack on Manchester United’s “uncontactable” transfer negotiator, accused executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward of being too trusting and claimed there are people working at Old Trafford who are “damaging the club”.
In an uncompromising 20-minute monologue posted on his Instagram account, the former United and France defender raised fears that Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy was being “blown away”.
Evra’s plea for the club to stop being “arrogant” came less than 48 hours after a 3-1 defeat by Crystal Palace in their opening game of the new Premier League season underlined the urgent need for quality reinforcements before the close of the transfer window in a fortnight.
United are in talks to sign Brazil left-back, Alex Telles, from Porto for around £20million after Holland midfielder, Donny van de Beek, joined from Ajax this month for £34.8 million.
But they have so far balked at Borussia Dortmund’s £108million valuation of England winger Jadon Sancho and have not signed a centre-half, despite Palace being the latest side to expose their problems in that position.
Evra believes United – who face Luton Town in the Carabao Cup third round at Kenilworth Road tonight – need to rethink completely their approach to signing players and singled out head of corporate development Matt Judge, who is responsible for negotiating transfers and contacts, for criticism.
Evra claimed the sporting director of one leading club contacted him once to ask if he could relay a message to Judge, a former investment banker, to start answering his phone and believes United are losing out on players because they dispatch lawyers, not football people, to talk to would-be targets.
“When Manchester United needed a player [under Ferguson and David Gill] they go and talk to them face to face,” Evra said. “When Ferguson and David Gill came to meet me at Monaco it was worse than an interview from
Line of communication: Patrice Evra claims Matt Judge often fails to answer his phone
the CIA or FBI! But now my phone is ringing from a sporting director from a top football club and they say, ‘Patrice, can you please ask Matthew Judge to answer his phone’. We [United] send lawyers to talk to players. So when we send lawyers they talk about numbers – they are not people from the football world.” It is not uncommon to hear agents and technical directors at rival clubs complaining about the poor lines of communication Evra cites. United’s recruitment has invited severe criticism for years and many of their transfer pursuits – from Harry Maguire to Bruno Fernandes recently and now Sancho – have become drawn-out sagas. Yet they have so far resisted the appointment of a director of football.
Evra has enjoyed a close relationship in the past with Woodward, but said of the executive vice-chairman: “We are blaming him a lot. The only problem I would say to Ed is trusting people he should never trust. He even trusts some people from outside the club [that he shouldn’t].”
Evra says he worries about some of the people United have working for them. “Let’s be less arrogant, even some people from the club they don’t respect Sir Alex Ferguson. Don’t destroy your legacy,” he said. “Before us, Bobby Charlton, George Best, they make the history and we try to respect it. Some people want to blow all this legacy away and they are damaging this club.”