Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United in Evra stand-off

By Jim Gracey

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is on another collision course with a top player’s agent and his old adversaries, Real Madrid.

Before Ferguson could savour going five points clear in the Premiership in last night’s 3-2 comeback win at Blackpool, French defender Patrice Evra’s representative dropped a broad hint that the 29-year-old defender could be on his way to Real or Inter Milan in the summer.

The development is being seen as an attempt by Evra’s agent Federico Pastorello to up the stakes in contract renegotiations with the left back’s current deal running out.

But he could find Ferguson in the mood to call any bluff, given the United manager’s distaste for the role of agents in the game and his previous run-in with Wayne Rooney’s representatives earlier this season.

Determined Fergie held out and won that battle, blocking Rooney’s requested move, although the striker ended up with a richly improved contract he has yet to justify.

Ferguson is likely to stand his ground again despite Pastorello saying Senegal-born Evra is ready to leave.

Evra has been at Old Trafford for five years and is determined to cash in on what will be the richest contract of his career with United so far resisting his demands.

“He’ll either extend his contract, or he’ll leave,” said Pastorello. “We’ll sit down in the summer with Manchester United and decide whether he will extend his contract or move on.

“There has been interest, and I have read about Real Madrid, but the only official interest was from Inter Milan last summer.”

United’s young Brazilian defender Rafael will miss Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Southampton as a required medical precaution after a concussion at Blackpool.

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