Jonny Evans is reportedly more likely to return to Manchester United in January than sign for Arsenal or Manchester City.
According to the Times (£), if given the choice, Evans would much rather return to his former club, United, than either the Gunners or City.
The 29-year-old left Old Trafford in 2015 after losing his first team place while David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were in charge. He signed for West Brom for £6m plus £2m add-ons and immediately became a key member of the Baggies’ squad.
Despite finding his feet at the Hawthorns, the centre-back would reportedly prefer a return to United over the other clubs he’s been linked with.
Now that Eric Bailly is set to miss the next three months with an ankle injury, the Red Devils might need back-up. Although not as badly as Arsenal do.
Jose Mourinho has plenty of defensive options, such as Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof and even 20-year-old Axel Tuanzebe. However, Evans’ experience and United roots could apparently prove tempting for the Portuguese coach.
Former Baggies’ boss, Tony Pulis, revealed in September that City and Arsenal both made moves for Evans over the summer. However, they fell well short of West Brom’s valuation, which was thought to be around £35m.
Would Arsenal return for Evans?
The Gunners do need someone to back up Laurent Koscielny, whose Achilles problem has become an issue. In addition, Per Mertesacker stands down from playing at the end of the season to take over the academy. Plus, Arsene Wenger never replaced Gabriel when we sold him to Valencia for £10m in August.
Therefore, we obviously do need another experienced centre-back while Calum Chambers and Rob Holding develop.
Current Baggies boss Alan Pardew admits that West Brom may struggle to keep hold of Evans if a club comes in with the right offer.
“I’m never confident when you’ve got great players because other clubs want great players, so your best players are always vulnerable,” Pardew said.
“Jonny Evans is definitely one of them and he is our captain. Do I want to lose him? Of course not. Do I fear losing him? Of course I do.
“There was interest in him in the summer so it makes sense to stir it up. They are good headlines for the media. I understand that, we deal with it and Jonny has dealt with it in his own way. He was terrific for me.”
Whether a club will be willing to pay over £30m for the Northern Ireland international remains to be seen.
Evans has 18 months left on his current contract.