‘Unexpected’ Man Utd deal explained as director intervenes to push through plan backed by Ten Hag

Matt Stead
Central defender Jonny Evans is back at Man Utd on a short-term deal
Jonny Evans is back at Man Utd on a short-term deal.

Man Utd offered Jonny Evans a surprise short-term deal to return to the club after Darren Fletcher intervened to help bring the Premier League winner back.

Evans made the ‘unexpected’ move to Man Utd after the expiration of his Leicester contract this summer.

The centre-half has joined his former club on their pre-season tour of the United States as Man Utd prepare for the upcoming campaign, with a handful of players still unavailable.

Evans featured in a 1-0 friendly victory over Lyon in Edinburgh before being named in the travelling party for their break in America, which will feature four more games.

It transpires that Man Utd had to sign Evans to a short-term deal to play him in those friendlies for ‘insurance purposes’.

READ MORETen Hag ‘wants to close’ deal before pursuing midfielder with ‘official offer’ imminent

James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph says that the contract was necessary for Evans ‘to be able to play in front of crowds’ after technical director Darren Fletcher hatched the plan to bring him back.

‘Former team-mates at Old Trafford, Fletcher was aware Evans was looking for a new club after leaving Leicester at the end of last season and suggested he should keep fit by running out with the U21s,’ Ducker writes of how Fletcher ‘recommended’ the Northern Irishman’s return.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News says Evans is ‘indebted’ to Fletcher for the move after he ‘asked United on Evans’ behalf’ if anything could be done.

Erik ten Hag has offered his public backing to a short-term arrangement which Ducker says could be extended, adding that ‘it is not completely unfeasible’ Evans is kept on.

Former Man Utd defender Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans is back at Man Utd

“I know him for a long time, so I know his place was here, in Manchester,” Ten Hag told MUTV of the 35-year-old.

“He came to train with us, to work on his fitness, and I said, ‘Yeah’.

“Not all the players are in – internationals are out, still having their break, so I thought it was a good idea to help each other out. Jonny can work on his fitness and he can help us out.

“The level, we know he is a really experienced player but also a very good person, a big personality, and I think he has big authority as well. He will help the young players especially. It is a benefit for both sides.”

A decision over whether Evans stays permanently or not is thought to be tied to the future of Harry Maguire, whose demotion as captain has led to speculation on his future.

West Ham are known to be interested in the England centre-half but it has also been reported that Ten Hag wants to keep Maguire in his central-defensive pecking order.