Manchester United crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night thanks to a number of individual errors and David de Gea was one of the main culprits.
De Gea’s United contract ends in June and it has been widely reported that the two sides are locked in negotiations for a new deal, with an offer of £200,000 a week – a huge drop on the current £375,000 per week – having been turned down by the Spaniard.
There has also been no end of rumours about scouting missions on other keepers, Costa, Onana, Bono, Raya among others, although United’s chief goalkeeping scout Tony Coton is “not yet completely sold” on any replacement for De Gea.
The Spaniard’s poor form in the 2020/21 season saw him dropped for academy graduate Dean Henderson, who was told by the then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he would get the gloves from the outset in 2021/22.
However, Henderson contracted Covid at the start of that season and De Gea seized his opportunity, playing at the top of his form. Henderson was unable to regain his place, blotted his copybook by complaining in public about Solskjaer’s broken promises and is now on loan at Nottingham Forest.
Henderson is expected to leave United in the summer.
De Gea’s calamitous performance against Sevilla was not an isolated mishap. There is a massive irony in that – as manager Erik ten Hag is keen to point out – he has kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season, yet his individual statistics for the season place him among the worst keepers in the Premier League.
The prospect looms of De Gea winning the Golden Glove at a time when many fans and pundits are baying for his new contract to be torn up and for United to buy a more modern type of keeper.
The fact is that clean sheets – the statistic upon which the Golden Glove is awarded – is by nature an award that is based on the whole defence’s performance, indeed, the whole team’s defensive performance, rather than that of the goalkeeper.
United’s excellent clean sheets record this season is not just about De Gea’s saves, it is about Lisandro Martinez’s interceptions, Raphael Varane’s positional genius, Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s tackles, Casemiro’s breaking up of play, even Wout Weghorst’s pressing from the front.
The 32 year old is one of the world’s best shot stoppers, but stats this season show that even on that one aspect of the goalkeeper’s game, he does not rank highly in the Premier League.
Four times the Sir Matt Busby player of the year, De Gea shines when United are at their worst, and he has been a hero, saving them on many occasions over the years.
But, as has been his experience when playing for his national side, he can all too often turn from hero to villain when his team is close to winning something or achieving something.
The Spaniard has now been at the club 12 seasons and other than that one Premier League win in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last year in charge, the only silverware De Gea has won is one Europa League, one FA Cup and two League Cups. It would be ridiculous to blame De Gea for all of United’s underachievements in recent years but it would be fair to ask whether someone who has been around the side’s mediocrity for that length of time could have become too used to being a part of that failure.
It has been reported by trusted sources that Ten Hag would prefer a keeper who is better with his feet but that his priority in this summer’s transfer window is a striker and midfielder. These are undoubtedly also crucial requirements, but at this stage, continuing to back De Gea could be a disaster for United, especially as he will be 33 in November. Successful teams are built from the back and the goalkeeping situation must be resolved as a priority, perhaps even the very top priority in this case.
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Courtesy : https://thepeoplesperson.com/2023/04/23/replacing-david-de-gea-must-be-a-priority-for-manchester-united-263007/