News won't cease linking United with Luka Modric and Baines, so it would only be appropriate to share with you guys an analysis of their stats.
Let's start with Baines, shall we?
Everton's left-back has been on United's radar immediately after the 2011/2012 season ended. The reason? our obvious dependency on Evra. With Fabio loaned out to QPR, our team currently has only one left-back, the Frenchman.
At 31 years of age, Patrice is too old to participate in all 38 Premier League games, adding to that the European nights and the domestic cups. Finally, if he were to get injured, United would be completely caught off guard without a replacement for the rest of the season. We would be playing with a massive weak spot on our left flank which enemies would abuse, as if Vidic's six-month injury that left a giant crack in the defence wasn't enough...makes you shudder, doesn't it?
You ask yourself, 'So if Evra needs a substitute and Baines is a reasonable option, what's the problem?'. The issue lies in the fact that no one quite knows how both players would share the position.
Leighton played 33 out of Everton's 38 games in the Premier League, meanwhile, Evra only missed one appearance!
Some fancy the idea of signing Baines as a back-up, while others think he should be the immediate replacement for United's number 3, but to truly know which player would serve the team better, let's take a quick look at their stats from last season.
The similarity between the two players is unbelievable, but there are some points that are worth to highlight.
Leighton touches the ball in the final third a little more than Patrice, demonstrating his ability to push up with the team and participate in the attack.
On the other hand, Evra does receive more passes than the English footballer, specially in the opponent's half, which is understandable after all the long, in-between runs he's known for.
When it comes to dribbling, the 31-year old has the upper-hand. It is always a delight to watch him dribble at Old Trafford, as he has no fear to take the ball and run past one or two enemies. He completed 51 of his 80 attempted dribbles, 23 more than the Leighton, with a 63.8% success rate.
However, the difference is made in the goal involvement comparison. Evra is involved in 4.6% of United's goals, but Baines participates in 16% of Everton's goals! And although it is true that Baines is the Toffee's corner-kick taker, the stat is clearly in favor of Goodison Park's number 3.
In this chart, their respective distribution is compared instead.
First off, we notice Evra is superior when distributing, having a 86.3% success rate over Leighton's 76.4%. He also has the advantage in the opponent's half as well as in the final third.
Nonetheless, the Kirkby-born should be the first choice when looking to cross. Baines had a total of 241 crosses, and more than a quarter of them were completed! Evra suffered in that aspect of the field, having only completed a poor amount of 15 crosses.
All in all, it is up to the boss to choose which player would start, but regardless of the final decision, a full-back must be aggregated to the team, whether it is Baines or not.
Let's now take a look at Luka Modric.
It seems like we're heading towards another Modric saga during this summer. City, Chelsea, Madrid and United are all chasing the Croatian genius, but there's one club that needs him the most and that's the team from Old Trafford.
Their last season was severely influenced by the lack of a creative midfielder, a number 8, if you will. The team needed a player to put passes in-between the defenders, or perhaps someone to strike a long-range cross to the side where only a teammate could get it.
Last year, Luka snubbed a £40M offer from Abramovich, but it is impossible for Tottenham to retain him once more. United should prepare a tempting offer for Modric before any other European giant snatch him first.
What we have here are the stats of the top 6 passers of the Premier.
Modric leads the table with the most passes made: 2517. Although he is second-to-last in the chart's success rate, keep in mind that out of all these players, Modric plays the highest up the pitch.
This last chart represents the player's ability to create chances.
Modric has accomplished 36 through balls in 36 games, averaging 1 through ball per game, trailing behind Samir Nasri and David Silva.
During the entire season, he managed to create 95 chances for his team, just behind Mata and Silva with 102. Let me remind you that Modric does not have such a rich attack as the Spaniards do with Chelsea and City respectively, which make these stats even more impressive.
Finally, Luka creates a chance every 35 minutes.
To put it in another point of view, this next image compares the 26-year old to our current central midfielder, Michael Carrick, prior to the Tottenham-Manchester United game that was held on March 4th.
As you can see, Luka is not the safest bet defensively, but his attacking performance definitely compensates for his lack of defensive skills.