Goalkeeper Man United 2021

The goalkeeper Man United has chosen to play between the sticks hasn’t always been an easy decision. Sure, if you’re someone who remembers only Edwin Van Der Sar and David De Gea as the top goalkeeper for Manchester United then you think that at Old Trafford everyone has always had things fingered out. At this point in time it does seem that the Spaniard De Gea is going to the goalkeeper for the Red Devils moving forward. Is this something that Man United is going to do because they are sold on De Gea? The goalkeeper actually won the award as the club best player for around 3 years on end. To many people that was more of a reflection of how bad the team was. Rather than over the top play by De Gea. 

If you look through the history books you can find that Man United usually don’t like to complicate themselves at goalkeeper. When they have a keeper that they like they typically allow him to stay at the club for a long time. Such was the case for Peter Schmeichel, Edwin Van Der Sar, and now David De Gea. On the other hand, goalkeepers like Fabien Barthez, Tim Howard, and others that really didn’t fit the mold were let go rather quickly. If not specifically thrown out of the club they were benched. I’m going to be taking a look at the position of goalkeeper Man United, present, and future. 

Goalkeeper Man United First String – David De Gea 

David De Gea came over from Atletico Madrid in 2011. Pretty much since his debut campaign he has held down the number spot in goal for Manchester United. When he came over to Man United, the only real competition that he had was danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. However, Lindegaard who joined Man United a year earlier had not been able to establish himself as the successor of Edwin Van Der Sar. Once De Gea arrived, his chances were even worse. He ended up only playing 19 official games in 5 years. While De Gea pretty much handled the starting role in all of the competitions for the Red Devils. 

What does De Gea bring to the table? He is one of the best goalkeepers between the sticks. There is no question that De Gea has that wow factor. In that, he has the ability to make acrobatic saves pretty much on a consistent basis. This was something that has certainly been needed by the club particularly in the years following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The club struggled to find consistent form under David Moyes. The Louis Van Gal years were smeared with controversy in the dressing room. Apparently the Dutchman isn’t necessarily a great people person. Add Jose Mourinho to the salad, and the only consistent figure was De Gea at goalkeeper. 

These days De Gea has still proven that he can be consistent. Yet, he has had a couple of high profile mistakes that have landed him on the highlight real. Oddly enough, to the delight of Man United fans most of the mistakes that we’ve seen De Gea make have come when playing with Spain and not necessarily as goalkeeper at Man United. Recently there have been talks that the Spaniard could be on the move. If that happens what are the Red Devils going to look to do? Like him or hate him, you can’t deny that a goalkeeper of De Gea’s caliber isn’t exactly something that you find on every corner. 


Goalkeeper Man United Second String – Dean Henderson     

If De Gea is thinking about leaving I’m not sure that Man United will miss him that much. Without a doubt Dean Henderson has taken huge steps since his loan year at Sheffield United to come back to his boyhood club and hold down the number one shirt. When you look at Dean Henderson you’ll see a very Premier League goalkeeper. For me Henderson on a good day is a wall between the sticks, and he can play with the best of them. He got to show off a lot of that in his year on loan. Mainly because he went to a club that needed him to be superman every time he stepped on the pitch. Most of the time he was able to deliver. 

If there is one detail about Dean Henderson that I don’t love or think he could certainly improve is his hand security. He is the textbook goalkeeper who is always looking to punch the ball out instead of holding onto the ball. Most goalkeeper trainers and experts out there will tell you that they would prefer that you hold on to the ball instead of deflecting it every time out. If you’re able to even put “power” on a save to make sure that you’re not leaving the ball at the mercy of a sticker there’s a chance that you can catch some of those balls.   

Having gotten his bad habits out of the way, I do feel that at 24 he still has some room for improvement. If De Gea were to leave there’s a good chance that he would be handed the responsibility of starting in goal full time. There are a couple of reasons why I think that. Obviously one of those reasons being that since the season began he has clearly become the number 2 option for the club. His emergence can also be a good sign of things to come for England. There is no question that the 3 lions have been dealing with a lot of doubts at goalkeeper for the national team for quite some time now. 


Goalkeeper Man United Third String – Sergio Romero 

I’m just going to come out and say it, I don’t like it when top flight clubs fill their goalkeeper roster spots with a bunch of veterans. If you’ve read my Chelsea article and you remember what I wrote about Willy Caballero you know this already. Romero has never been good enough to challenge De Gea for the starting role. In his years at Man United though it can be said that he has been a decent backup. When he has gotten a chance to showcase his skills in cup games he’s taken advantage of the opportunity. At the end of the day he is a keeper that started a World Cup final. Therefore, you really can’t label him as the worst thing to ever walk into Old Trafford. 

It does seem that with the rise of Dean Henderson someone is going to be the odd man out next season. The only way that I see Romero staying on at Man United is if De Gea is the one that moves on to a different club. Which, by the way seems to be a real possibility. At this point in the season though Romero has not started a match for Man United. It doesn’t seem that this is going to change even with De Gea out of the lineup. Romero himself has been battling injuries in the last few years and it seems that at this point the real reason why he remains at Man United is because the checks that he gets every week are pretty substantial. 

A move back home to Argentina may have seemed like the logical step at this point in his career. The thing is, Argentine teams in this day and age just can’t manage to put up the money to pay even half of the salary that he is getting at Man United for not playing a single minute. A good business decision for Romero could be to move on to an MLS club. Notice, I have yet to talk about his skills. At this point, I just feel that it doesn’t matter much. I don’t think that Romero is going to see the pitch at all.


Goalkeeper Man United Fourth String – Lee Grant  

To be fair at this point in the season Lee Grant is sitting on the bench for first team games with De Gea and Romero both out. Yet, I’m putting him as the fourth option at goalkeeper because I feel that if everyone was healthy that’s exactly the spot that we’d find him in. Management at Man United is probably going to justify keeping Lee Grant on the squad saying that they have him for situations like this. In fact, the COVID 19 pandemic has given a lot of older keepers longer contracts. I just think that there is no excuse for not having younger goalkeepers on the squad list. 

What are both Romero and Grant really going to bring to the table? Meanwhile, they are taking up roster spots that could be occupied by young up and coming goalkeepers. Again, with everyone injured I believe that there are some youngsters training with the top squad on a daily basis and that’s great. Why are you paying a 38 year old to sit on the bench? He’s clearly not good enough to actually compete for the starting spot. This man has not played in a Premier League game since the 2017/2018 season. Put an 18 year old out there on the bench behind Dean Henderson. Throw them in the deep end to see if they can swim! 

Is De Gea Going To Be At Man United Next Season?   

There are a lot of rumors that De Gea is going to be somewhere else next season. Dean Henderson has been ok, but not special. There are critics that want to tear him apart for his recent performance against AC Milan. I got the feeling that he got caught trying to punch a ball out that you could probably tip over the bar. Henderson has a very basic technique problem with hand placement. If he doesn’t get that fixed you’re going to see a lot of these goals. Is Solskjaer ready to take on a season with him as full time number one?   

I think it really depends on how much money you can get for De Gea. The rumors insist that De Gea could be headed to PSG. I don’t see the major upgrade that PSG would be getting between De Gea and Navas. In fact, it quite angers me every time that Navas is outright disrespected. He’s been one of the top goalkeepers in the world for years. Yet it seems that everywhere he goes the team is looking for a replacement. It makes no sense. Having said all of this I do feel De Gea is going to end up staying. That could lead Henderson to seek a starting role somewhere else. That could be great for Romero or Grant. One of those two if not both could get another year.  

Would It Be A Good Idea To Try & Move De Gea?  

If they trust Henderson, then it’s a no brainer to move De Gea. Particularly if you end up getting a good offer for him. The same could be said about an offer for Henderson. At the end of the day De Gea is only 30. He’s in line to have quite a few good years left. At 24 it would not be wise for Henderson to sit and wait. He actually could benefit much more from consistent playing time. Particularly to be able to fix that hand problem that seems overly evident to me. 

The problem with moving De Gea in the current market is that there are only a handful of teams that can take up the salary. Let alone teams that are going to be willing to put down a hefty transfer fee for him. The only thing that would make some sense is PSG. As I mentioned though, that would just be a dumb move by PSG. Why would you pay a ton of cash for what is arguably a slight upgrade at goalkeeper at best? You could make the argument that it makes sense for Navas’ age. Maybe Keylor is looking for an MLS out.