It seems that this summer will be the one in which every half decent Everton player will be linked with a move to Manchester United. After Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini have already been mentioned, Phil Jagielka is the next one to enter the rumor mill.
And why not? The 30 year old has been one of the more consistent performers in the Premier League since arriving at Everton in 2007 from Sheffield United, earning 16 caps for the English national team since 2008. He has been a cornerstone in David Moyes’ defense ever since he arrived, except for the 2009-2010 season in which he played only 12 times, halted by injury.
United have quite a lot of centre backs, but not all of them are going to be staying next season. The first names that might be on the departure list are Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Age and ability, not to mention persistent injury problems, might mean that the CB duo that was the best in Europe not too long ago might be breaking apart, with a possibility of both of them finding new teams.
That leaves Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling (who hasn’t been used much this season, even when healthy) and Phil Jones, who will likely be getting more chances playing in the midfield. United need a better player in the middle of their defense than whatever duo they’re planning on using next season, and Jagielka might be that player, bringing experience that without Ferdinand and Vidic the team will be lacking.
His cost? Jagielka is rumored to be worth around £10 million, although Everton might not make it easy for Moyes to destroy the team. Transfer money is much needed at Goodison Park, and even if the two sides broke up on good terms, it’s hard to think the club will silently let Moyes take away every good player on the team. Unless Jagielka, who has appeared 214 times, scoring 9 goals, for Everton, is the only man leaving the blue side of Liverpool to Old Trafford, it’s going to be a hard and lengthy negotiations period.