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Sport

Evra slams Manchester United over approach to recruiting players

FILE PHOTO: Manchester United's Patrice Evra celebrates after scoring a goal against Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final second leg soccer match in Munich, April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra says the club’s difficulties in the transfer market are the result of lawyers and not football people handling the negotiations.

United, who lost their Premier League opener 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho throughout the close season but they have yet to agree to a deal.

In a video posted on Instagram, the 39-year-old ex-France international contrasted United’s current approach, under chief executive Ed Woodward, with how the club was run when David Gill was CEO and Alex Ferguson the manager.

“When Manchester United needed a player they (went) and they talk(ed) to them face-to-face,” Evra said. “When Ferguson and David Gill came to meet me at Monaco it was worse than an interview from the CIA or FBI,” he said.

“But now my phone is ringing from a sporting director from (another) top football club and they say, ‘Patrice, can you please ask (contract negotiator) Matthew Judge to answer his phone’.

“People need to understand we send lawyers to talk to players. So when we send lawyers they talk about numbers - they are not people from the football world,” added Evra, who played for United from 2006 to 2014.

In two prominent cases, Dortmund beat United to the signature of Norway striker Erling Haaland and English midfielder Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City.

“We don’t have any (signings) because we send the wrong people to speak with them,” Evra said, contrasting United’s approach with how other clubs, such as Real Madrid tackle recruitment.

“They send people who know the club, who love the club to talk about the club, not some lawyers who only talk about money,” he said.”

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris

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