It seems like after too many mistakes that he doesn’t seem to learn from, Manchester United don’t want David de Gea to be their goalkeeper for the rest of the season.
Not so fast. You don’t give up on a 22 year old goalkeeper who cost £17 million 18 months ago, a British record for a goalkeeper. You loan him out, hoping it molds him into the kind of player you want him to be. De Gea has been the first team goalkeeper for most of this season, most recently starting in six consecutive Premier League matches, his longest streak since the rotation between him and Anders Lindegaard began.
The Dane hasn’t played since the dramatic 4-3 win over Reading on December first, but he isn’t the reason Alex Ferguson is thinking about sending De Gea out on loan. It’s De Gea’s form, keeping only 3 clean sheets in 13 matches so far, sometimes being at direct fault. Yes, United have quite a few defensive problems this season, be it injuries and also poor form of anyone playing at the centre back role, not to mention the lack of support from the midfield, but De Gea, into his second season at the club, was supposed to be better.
It’s not just his ability. De Gea has a Spanish pop star for a girlfriend, and she’s been pushing for him to move back to Spain. De Gea was unhappy as long as his place in the lineup wasn’t a sure thing, but the moment the professional stuff gets worked out, the smile usually comes back on a players’ face.
De Gea is a fantastic shot stopper, but that’s where the compliments end. He has a big problem handling crosses and aggressive forwards who lunge at his body, simply lacking that commanding feature great goalkeepers have. Maybe it’s a matter of experience and maybe some bulking up, maybe it’s a personality issue. His communication with the players in front of him has been a troubling aspect as well.
So where to? There have been talks about Real Madrid, in order to give Iker Casillas some competition, from a keeper touted as his successor one day in the national team. His former club, Atletico Madrid, have a better goalkeeper (Thibaut Courtois) at the moment, and I don’t think De Gea is willing to sit on Atletico’s bench. Maybe no bench at all.
More importantly, who are Manchester United planning on bringing for him? Asmir Begovic of Stoke City, the 25 year old Bosnian, is the first name on Ferguson’s list. Pepe Reina of Liverpool is another one mentioned, although at first glance, that seems highly unlikely.