David De Gea’s inevitable move to Real Madrid seems to gather more momentum by the day. The Spaniard has reportedly been offered a new deal by United worth more than 5 times what he is currently earning in an attempt to keep hold of their number 1 who was named United’s player of the season in the last two campaigns and has made his name as one of the best keepers in the world. However, it seems the attraction of home is something that means more to De Gea than money, as he looks certain to join Los Blancos and leave United with a vacant number 1 spot.
Should De Gea leave, United have one instant fall back option in Victor Valdes. The 33-year-old may well be the more natural replacement for De Gea, however fans could agree that the former Barcelona keeper no longer possesses the abilities he once did.
Below are 5 goalkeeping options that Louis van Gaal may consider as a replacement for De Gea.
The France and Spurs number 1 is probably the favourite to replace De Gea. Now 28, the keeper is at the peak of his game and has been one of the best keepers in the Premier League for a number of years since moving to Spurs from Lyon. The Frenchman has recently stated his desire to play Champions League football, and with United securing a place in the competition it could well be that Old Trafford is his next destination. There may be a few issues with the Lloris transfer, one being that Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy is often a tough negotiator and would surely drive the price as high as possible for the club’s captain.
It has been a tough season for Petr Cech, one of the best keepers the Premier League has ever seen. The Czech goalkeeper is almost certain to leave Chelsea this summer, after losing his place in the first team to Courtois. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has admitted that it will be difficult to to keep Cech at the club this summer, although he is apparently determined to keep hold of the 33-year-old. Whether Chelsea are willing to sell to a League rival remains to be seen, but with the keepers age it is hard to see why United would be willing to invest upwards of £10 million. Manchester United legend Edwin Van der Sar proved that age is just a number for goalkeepers, but with Cech it seems like it would be a strange acquisition, as United have an experienced 33-year-old in their ranks already with Victor Valdes.
The 26-year-old Netherlands international has emerged as contender for United’s number 1 spot this summer, seemingly due to his shared country of birth and previous experience under Van Gaal (often a factor that links a player to United). The Dutchman is under contract with Ajax until 2018, which means the fee for the player may be more than United are willing to invest on a keeper who has never saved a penalty in his senior career. Another factor that may worry some about Cillessen, is his lack of Premier League experience. Manchester United may well be in for the Dutchman, and at the right price there is no reason why he can’t replace De Gea.
At just 22 years of age, the Slovenian is yet another Atletico Madrid keeper that has big talent. In his first season at Atletico, Oblak has managed 11 clean sheets and conceded just 18 goals in 21 games in all competitions. The youngster has now made the number 1 shirt his own, and showed why in the Champions League fixture vs Juventus earlier in the season, with some fantastic saves. Unfortunately, Oblak would not come cheap, even with his youth. Atletico paid £13m last summer to make him theirs, a figure that made him the most expensive goalkeeper in La Liga.
The 23-year-old German has been a vital player for Leverkusen for the last couple of seasons, making his name as one of the top young shot-stoppers in Europe. His international progress has been halted by having Manuel Neuer as his direct contender, but he is a regular starter for his club and will surely be one of the world’s best in years to come. The German has a €18 million release clause in his contract (£13 million). A figure that is very affordable and well worth the investment.
It remains to be seen who will wear the number 1 shirt for United next season, but with these 5 options plus the fall back of Valdes, it would certainly not be all doom and gloom if De Gea left.