By Mark Weasley
Many fans worldwide were surprised when news broke out last week that Manchester City were interested in signing Northern Ireland international, Jonny Evans. The West Brom player has quietly rebuilt his reputation at the Hawthorns after struggling to impose himself at Manchester United.
The 29-year-old central defender has supposedly had his head turned by interest from the Etihad as West Brom manager, Tony Pulis has left him out of the Baggies’ two matches which the club has won without conceding. It has been reported that a bid of £18m has been rejected by Albion, who are holding out for close to £30m for the defender.
Clearly, Manchester City manager has seen him sufficiently to make him a priority signing and it is remarkable because for so many years at Manchester United, he was just a squad player who only played when other players ahead of him in the pecking order were injured or suspended. The archetypal story of grass to grace, Evans took the gamble of playing for a lesser team to remind everyone of his class, a fact most people ignored when he was at Old Trafford.
City are looking for a homegrown player to fill their quota but there is no reason why Evans can’t start at the Etihad. He should start ahead of John Stones in a back three as the former Everton man had failed to justify his heavy price tag following his big money signing. United fans won’t forget errors upon errors Evans committed at Old Trafford but under a manager like Sir Alex, he was decent as the legendary manager knew how to rotate his squad without having dressing room issues. He has been consistent for West Brom in the past two years, and under Pulls, a typically defensive minded coach, he has added consistency to his game.
Football has shown us that players under the right guidance and management can be better than what most people associate them with. For a player who made only 198 appearances for United in 9 years and left under a cloud after being involved in a spitting storm with then Newcastle forward, it is a victory that his improvement has been watched with keen interest at Manchester City.
If he moves or not given his United connections, it doesn’t matter as his is a story of victory. It is a trait every fan can imbibe: never write off anybody.