There would have been several benefits to bringing Everton's Leighton Baines to Manchester United, says GMS Academy writer Liam Morgan.
For a start, it would have given the Red Devils unrivalled depth in the left-back department. Who else would have been able to boast the plethora of talent in that position had Baines signed? Very few, that's for sure.
Perhaps Baines' best asset is his ability from a dead ball. Akin to the legendary David Beckham, opposition teams sense danger as soon as he steps over a free-kick anywhere near the penalty area. Few will forget his thunderbolt of a strike in a 2-1 win away at Newcastle back in January in a hurry.
But the most important potential benefit would have been to current first-choice left-back Patrice Evra, as it would have provided him with the competition he so desperately needs.
One of the reasons Evra comes under such scrutiny is at times he appears to have grown accustomed to the fact that he is indispensable at United. That no-one can challenge him for his place in the side.
This is unhealthy in any player, and to have one of the best attacking left-backs in the world hot on his heels would have without doubt improved the Frenchman's game substantially.
Granted Evra has seemingly got rid of the inconsistencies that have blighted his otherwise superb career, but new manager David Moyes' attempts at signing a player to engage in direct competition with the 32-year old clearly suggests that he wants Evra to reach even higher. A desperate last-ditch attempt to get Fabio Coentrao on loan is evidence of that.
It could be said that he doesn't receive enough credit, however. After all, he has been the number one choice in his position pretty much since he signed for United back in 2006.
Despite him entering his more senior years in footballing terms, he remains a key piece in the jigsaw for the club, not just on the pitch but off it, too, and he is a strong voice in the dressing room.
However, even the best need to be constantly challenged to achieve greatness. Let's be honest, Alexander Buttner or everyone's favourite utility man John O'Shea were hardly likely to push Evra even remotely close for the left-back starting place at Old Trafford.
But Baines would have been the perfect player to give the Frenchman a real run for his money. Something that his distinguished career with the Premier League champions has clearly lacked.
There's no certainty that the Evertonian would have become United's new number one left-back.
One thing is for sure, though, is that it would have made Evra realise that even the seemingly irreplaceable can be replaced.
And if that isn't motivation, I don't know what is.
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