David de Gea: No Longer in safe hands – opinion

The last few years a lot of the criticism aimed at David de Gea has been murmuring in the background. Over the last few months that criticism has intensified.

Playing out from the back has become a norm for most teams in the Premier League, thus the role of yhe goalkeeper has been more scrutinised than ever before.

Erik ten Hag has come in this season and put an emphasis on this as it is the style he wants to play, and a few players are finding out they are on the chopping block this summer.

Goalkeepers must do more in this new role; be comfortable with the ball at their feet and quick with their decision making. In the first two games, particularly the Brentford away game, it proved that De Gea might have some serious issues with Ten Hag’s preferred style.

The first goal in that game was a straightforward shot that went straight through him… then it all started to go wrong. The next was a disastrous attempt to play out from the back against a good pressing team.

This was early into Ten Hag’s reign, so it was always going to take time for our players to adjust, but this was a sign of the wiring being on the wall.

That is not to say he has been the worst player, but other players have finally stepped up after years of under-performing. If your goalkeeper is your player of the year once, then fine, but multiple times on the bounce and that is a massive indictment on the rest of your team.

De Gea has been at the club since 2011 and is one of the last few remaining links between the present and the last team to win the league in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last title win in the 2012/13 season.

He, alongside, Phil Jones are the last two players to win a league title with the club but could both players be out of the club at the end of the season?

Jones certainly will leave but with De Gea’s contract ending maybe ten Hag will make a big decision this summer. His deal to make him United’s highest paid player was another low point for Ed Woodward, paying a goalkeeper the kind of sum of money that should be reserved for the Mbappe’s of the world.

Subconsciously we may have given De Gea a lot of credit for the saves he has made in times when we were not good or maybe as he is the last link between this team and the last title win in 2013.

The game in Seville where United lost 3-0 to Sevilla in the Quarter final of the Europa League may prove to be the final nail in the coffin, a poor pass led to Harry Maguire giving away possession for the first goal.

Then in the second half he comes out to deal with a ball over the top, miskicks it and the Sevilla player scores, making it 3-0 and ended the match there and then. This game might be enough to prove to most people who either didn’t want to see or just didn’t see how big a problem he is.

For me, a new sweeper keeper is just as important as a striker, getting one would allow United to play higher up the pitch and give Erik ten Hag a key cog in this new United team.

De Gea’s great strength is also his greatest weakness, he seems rooted to his line, and this gives him more time to use his reactions to make stunning saves. However, by not commanding his area by claiming crosses or being aggressive this has led to teams using this against him.

Players have openly admitted to targeting him when United try to play out from the back, we have always thought it was the defense that was the problem over the years but what if it is the goalkeeper all along?

United have spent as much money on their defence as some small countries do but still seem to be vulnerable each time the opposition comes forward. Every position has been replaced numerous times but there has remained one constant.

The club have been linked to Brentford’s David Raya and Porto’s Diogo Costa as these keepers seem more in keeping with not only how ten Hag wants to play but also with how modern keepers must play.

I would be stunned if United don’t bring in a new goalkeeper to be number one or look at someone like Giorgi Mamardashvili from Valencia for example as someone who long term could take the mantle if an immediate successor cannot be found either due to availability or budget.

To be honest, I wrote this to come out at the end of the season, more to avoid unnecessary scrutiny and blame on him whilst playing. But his errors in the West Ham and Sevilla games have made me reconsider, these are too costly, and people have finally lost patience with him.

Erik ten Hag will publicly back his players as he did after the West Ham game, but you do wonder what he really thinks away from the spotlight. United are hampered playing his way by De Gea and long term he will struggle to progress with him in net, a change needs to be made either De Gea loses his job or just like previous managers he might lose his job if he persists.

United needs to play higher up the field to fully get the most from ten Hag’s system and to do this then De Gea needs to be moved on, this does not mean he is not a good goalkeeper just that he is not the right one for United to go forward with.

This is not the end of his career if he leaves the club or loses the number 1 position, it is simply the end of a chapter in a book that is still being written. He has been a great servant to the club, but players leave, it’s just the passage of time and now it’s his time to go.

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