Erik ten Hag has earned a status for making powerful selections as Manchester United supervisor this season, akin to sanctioning the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in November and dropping out-of-form captain Harry Maguire. However his ongoing religion in goalkeeper David de Gea may value the membership a spot in subsequent season’s Champions League.
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United produce other areas of concern, akin to scoring simply three objectives of their previous six video games. However, by failing to drop De Gea, Ten Hag dangers permitting the membership to fall again into the rut of rewarding mediocrity reasonably than displaying the ruthless streak that gives the spine of each profitable staff.
Sunday’s error from De Gea throughout United’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham United, when he was overwhelmed by a weak Mentioned Benrahma shot from 20 yards, was the newest expensive mistake that he has made in latest weeks. What was as soon as a rarity is turning into the norm for the 32-year-old. But, regardless of his declining type, sources have informed ESPN that United stay dedicated to extending De Gea’s keep at Previous Trafford right into a thirteenth season — though not essentially because the membership’s No. 1.
Solely two goalkeepers — Gavin Bazunu and Alex McCarthy, who each play for backside membership Southampton — have a worse save proportion within the Premier League this season than De Gea’s 68%. And but the United No. 1 can be main the race to win the Golden Glove award for many clear sheets with 15 shutouts — two greater than Alisson, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale. Nothing fairly sums up the enigma of De Gea than these two starkly contrasting statistics.
On the one hand he has grow to be a legal responsibility in Ten Hag’s United staff. The West Ham error got here lower than a month after the Europa League exit in opposition to Sevilla when three De Gea errors led to a 3-0 quarterfinal second-leg defeat. However De Gea may also produce moments of unimaginable agility and reflexes, making match-winning saves to assist those that imagine he’s nonetheless among the best goalkeepers on the earth. But De Gea’s inconsistency is now the one constant component of his recreation and United’s outfield gamers are performing with out the reassurance that comes with having a goalkeeper on the high of his recreation.
There is no such thing as a escaping the truth that De Gea’s poor distribution with the ball at his ft is a recurring drawback for United. That was recognized by former supervisor Louis van Gaal way back to 2015, when Sergio Romero was signed to offer competitors for De Gea, who virtually accomplished a transfer to Actual Madrid through the summer season switch window. It is usually why De Gea has not performed for Spain since October 2020, with former coach Luis Enrique not even taking him to Qatar as a part of his 2022 World Cup squad as a consequence of reservations over his footwork and reliability.
At United, De Gea’s poor communication expertise have led to misunderstandings along with his defenders, whereas opponents now frequently goal him at corners by crowding him out and exposing his reluctance to be assertive when the ball is within the air. It is a throwback to how he struggled when he first arrived from Atletico Madrid in 2011, earlier than toughening himself up in opposition to the extra bodily calls for for a goalkeeper within the Premier League.
Ten Hag mentioned that De Gea “has my full perception, no considerations,” following the West Ham defeat, however statistical proof is mounting to recommend that the United supervisor is both in denial or defending his goalkeeper in public whereas harbouring considerations over his reliability. In the course of the previous three Premier League seasons, 27 goalkeepers have performed 30 video games or extra, and De Gea’s numbers inside that group place him on the flawed finish of a lot of the key classes.
He ranks thirteenth when it comes to objectives prevented, whereas solely 5 keepers have conceded extra objectives than De Gea because the begin of the 2020-21 season. He’s seventh in the case of Anticipated Objectives In opposition to, and solely Leeds United‘s Illan Meslier has a worse save proportion (65.5%) over the past three seasons than De Gea (68%).
One optimistic for De Gea throughout that timeframe is that he’s a good sixth in the case of clear sheets with 32 — Manchester Metropolis‘s Ederson is high with 49. He additionally broke Peter Schmeichel’s club-record 180 clear sheets in February, albeit having performed 137 extra video games on the time than the Treble-winning keeper.
With De Gea’s contract as a consequence of expire on the finish of this season, the membership has assessed different choices; Switzerland No. 1 Yann Sommer was thought of in January earlier than he left Borussia Monchengladbach for Bayern Munich following Manuel Neuer‘s season-ending leg damage.
A supply near De Gea informed ESPN following the Sevilla defeat final month that, after 12 years at United, he was eager to return to Spain this summer season. Nonetheless, he accepted that he had no sensible possibility as a consequence of Actual, Atletico and Barcelona all having settled goalkeepers and no different membership in LaLiga in a position to come near matching his £375,000-a-week wage.
De Gea additionally accepts that he should take a considerable pay lower to remain at Previous Trafford, however sources have mentioned an settlement between participant and membership is near being concluded. It isn’t probably the most optimistic state of affairs, although, for a contract to be signed as a result of participant having no different choices and the membership realising that it might be cheaper to maintain him on lowered wages — even is he has been given no ensures he will likely be first-choice subsequent season.– than signal a brand new, extra dependable goalkeeper.
Ten Hag’s squad is burdened with various gamers who signed new contracts regardless of a failure to justify them with their performances. It appears that evidently historical past is about to repeat itself with De Gea. Except, after all, Ten Hag shows the ruthless streak that accounted for Ronaldo and Maguire by drawing a line below the De Gea period.
Info from ESPN’s Stats & Info group was used on this report