There’s no doubt that a few years ago, David De Gea was easily Manchester United’s best player, and one of the best (if not the best) goalkeeper in the world. I do appreciate what he’s given to the club, so I don’t say this lightly. However, sad though it may be, at the moment he no longer deserves to be in United’s first team.
This isn’t a knee jerk reaction, it’s been coming for a while. But the last couple of weeks have probably been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
United are out of the Champions League, and against RB Leipzig they didn’t deserve to get anything out of the game. But at home against PSG, their performance merited at least a point. However, in both games the winning goal came after a pathetic non attempt at a save by De Gea.
These Aren’t Just Mistakes
Making a half hearted attempt to block the ball with your foot, while turning your body away, simply doesn’t cut it. The basics of goalkeeping demand that you go at the ball with your hands, and get your body between it and the goal.
We used to have a Danish fella who was quite good at that, but he didn’t invent it. This is what every goalkeeper should do. It’s what De Gea gets paid that massive salary to do.
It’s not a case of him making mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven – everybody makes them. But what you can’t forgive is refusing to do your job.
Paul Scholes said after the Leipzig match exactly what I’d been saying during it. He’s right. Either De Gea is too scared of getting hurt, or he simply doesn’t respect his club, teammates or the fans enough to risk it. I can see no other possible explanation, and either way it’s simply not good enough.
Ready Made Replacement
A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to talk this way. But now the situation has changed. United have a ready made replacement sitting on their bench, who’s gone out and proved himself in the Premier League already.
Surely Henderson deserves his chance to be first choice Number 1 now. What else does he need to do?
Ole’s loyalty to his players is a good thing, but loyalty can’t be blind and it has to have its limits.
Again, if these were just mistakes I could understand sticking with the player to give him a chance to recover his form. But they’re not. He just isn’t willing to offer any commitment to the team. If any outfield player offered up such a cowardly, half assed performance, would any manager stick with them?
Keep or Sell?
One obvious issue is that given his massive salary, De Gea is a very expensive backup. The Old Trafford paymasters aren’t going to like it if he ends up there permanently. So while I’d keep him at the club for purely footballing reasons, commercially it might actually make sense to sell him in January – if there are any takers and if he has any decent transfer value left.
Getting him off the wage bill would be helpful given the club’s losses during 2020, and any transfer fee recouped would be far better invested in areas where the team is weak – a strong, quick centre half who can compete at both offensive and defensive corners, and an athletic, dominant defensive midfielder would be the obvious priorities.
It’s a shame it’s come to this as most fans would love to have seen De Gea play out his career at the highest level and become a real club legend. But if you make decisions based on sentiment, you don’t win trophies.
Thanks David, and I genuinely mean that, but it’s time to say goodbye.