Manchester United's challenge for the Premier League title may hinge on the future of their goalkeeper. David De Gea may be on his way to Real Madrid, so William Hill's Lee Phelps looks at how that could alter the soccer odds for the Red Devils.
Manchester United’s player of the year for two years running is rumoured to be on the verge of leaving the club in a £25 million transfer to Real Madrid. So if David De Gea leaves how big a hole will it leave in goal for the premier league club?
Will He Go?
The Daily Mail is reporting the United keeper is on the verge of leaving the Premier League despite his current employers breaking the bank to keep him. Ian Ladyman writes: “The Barclays Premier League club have offered De Gea £200,000-a-week - a British record deal for a goalkeeper - to try to tempt him to stay and have still not heard officially from Madrid ahead of a transfer window that opens at the end of the month.”
It wouldn’t be a big surprise for those who place soccer picks to see the Spanish stopper head home, where sources say he thinks he has more chance of winning the Champions League and, perhaps more importantly, Madrid is where his girlfriend lives.
Who Are United’s Reserves?
Louis van Gaal isn’t blessed with goalkeeping talent, like Chelsea for example, but he does have ex-Barcelona man Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard. The 33-year-old Valdes has had limited opportunity this season and has looked susceptible under the high ball in the English game, but he has bags of experience and is obviously a quality player.
The third choice man Lindegaard is two years younger than Valdes, but has barely played for two seasons and his international career seems to be over for Denmark too.
The fourth keeper on the books is Ben Amos, who has been on loan at Bolton and has finally decided that his future is away from Old Trafford.
Who Could They Buy?
If van Gaal decides the 30 somethings aren’t good enough for his first team at Manchester United, he may look to other Premier League clubs for a replacement for De Gea.
Chelsea has the best pair of goalies in the world with Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois, but it would be a big shock to see Jose Mourinho letting United have one of them.
Soccer odds makers think that a move for Tottenham French keeper Hugo Lloris would be more likely. His agent has spoken of the desire to be in the Champions League and the player himself knows where the Spurs are: "It is not a team that is challenging for the title at the moment, but a little later on perhaps, who knows what will happen?”
“Our fifth place, ahead of Liverpool, shows that we were a bit young, a bit without experience in order to aim higher, but that the new manager knows what he is doing.
“It is a good result for a transitioning season, with a new way of working and a new style of play. Our inconsistency, even in the same matches, was difficult to deal with.
“It happened too often, individual mistakes, lapses in concentration. Those are signs of collective weakness. But the manager and his staff know where they are headed, and so it is the team itself that needs to step up a level.
“There are some players who had their first season at this level and they were remarkable. Take Harry Kane for example.”
Given the rumours and choices available to United, I would fully expect De Gea to move away from England and Lloris to move up north to be the new Red Devils’ goalkeeper.