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With the world at a standstill and football postponed indefinitely, there has been very little to look forward to. Fans are making all sorts of attempts to make up for the lack of football. So here’s your dose of football from our end. Today we will be discussing the situation of Manchester United’s goalkeepers and how they could be looking going into next season.
Manchester United have 5 first team goalkeepers – David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar. We also have two goalkeepers on loan – Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) and Joel Castro Pereira (Hearts). The current situation is that David De Gea starts every game in the Premier League with Sergio Romero playing the Europa League and FA Cup games. Lee Grant is living the good life at the club with barely any appearances! Matej Kovar and Nathan Bishop often play the reserves and youth games at the club.
Manchester United have a very peculiar conundrum on their hands, one that we barely ever have. De Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, Sergio Romero is the world’s best second choice goalkeeper, and now Dean Henderson has emerged as the best English goalkeepers and now one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Henderson’s Sheffield United gained promotion to the Premier League last season and were largely written off before the season started. Now, they are seventh in the league with a game in hand. To put that into perspective, they can overtake United if they win their game in hand and take that fifth spot. Aston Villa and Norwich, the two other teams that gained promotion, are languishing in 19th and the 20th spot engaged in an intense battle to avoid relegation. Sheffield United have kept 10 clean sheets, level with Manchester City, two more than Manchester United and two less than Liverpool. They concede an average of just 0.81 goals a game and this is largely down to the Sheffield backline. They set up in a 3-5-2 and any forward that happens to get past the defence have the task of beating Henderson who has pulled off 70 saves this season.
The issue here is that Dean Henderson has turned a lot of heads this season with Chelsea already reportedly interested in signing him. If we don’t recall him this season, we run the risk of losing him to some other club. Losing him will be the last thing the club would want as Sergio Romero turns 33 next season and De Gea always on the brink of leaving.
What should be done?
This is a very difficult decision as losing Romero will be quite upsetting to see. If we look at it factually, Romero is too good to be a backup goalkeeper and could very easily be the first choice goalkeeper of a lot of good clubs in Europe. He was actually bought to United with the intention of being a first-choice goalkeeper with the whole De Gea saga in 2015. As much as I love Romero, if we get a good deal for him, we should sell him to a good club to make way for Henderson.
With De Gea playing League games, Dean can take the Europa League games (supposing we don’t get UCL if we do, De Gea starts in the UCL), FA Cup and League cup games. The European experience will be vital for him.
If Sheffield United do get European football, Henderson should be made to stay there one more season with the end of next season being the ideal time to recall him as he’ll be 24 this time next year and just entering his prime and Romero would be 34 and on his last few months of his contract.
All this is, of course, if the Covid-19 permits!