It has come to the attention of Manchester United fans that David de Gea’s contract negotiations have hit a stumbling block.
The Spain international is weighing up his future and knows that his next contract could rule him out of a move during his peak years. With the way that Manchester United are playing under José Mourinho, and how far they are from truly challenging the elite in Europe, it is no surprise that De Gea is questioning his options.
If the Spaniard decides against renewing with the Red Devils, the club will need to act fast in approaching potential replacements. Here are three that are worth considering should that outcome come to fruition:
Jan Oblak: Atlético Madrid
The outstanding candidate would be Atlético Madrid’s Jan Oblak, who has been tremendous ever since joining the Spanish giants. So much so that he has in fact kept more clean sheets than goals conceded while in goal since the 2014/15 season, showing his exemplary credentials and case to be crowned the best goalkeeper in the world.
Oblak is a wonderful shot-stopper, like De Gea, and also makes remarkable, worldly saves that he has no right to. The Slovenia international might have a brick wall in the form of a defence in front of him, but Oblak holds more than his own and has kept Atlético in crucial games.
At 25-years-old, Oblak is coming into his peak years as a goalkeeper and can rule as one of the leading goalkeepers of his generation. There is no reason to suggest that he cannot go on for another decade, playing at the elite level winning trophies.
The problem Manchester United face would be to prize the Slovenian away from sunny Madrid. Not only is it about convincing him to step down in terms of the level, because United at this moment are not comparable to Atlético, but to also convince the board members of the Spanish club to sell him. It would most likely take his full buy-out clause of £88 million (€100m) to acquire him.
If De Gea does leave in the next two years, Oblak should be the frontrunner in terms of who they target. He is the perfect replacement.
Jordan Pickford: Everton
England’s number one has had a meteoric rise since leaving Sunderland for Everton just over two seasons ago.
Jordan Pickford has shown that height is not a sticking point in becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League with his distribution and positioning being first class.
Against Spain, Pickford set up two goals with his quick thinking and immaculate passing out of his hands and on the floor. That quick tempo that the England international plays at is what has allowed him to reach the heights he is beginning to.
He might be 24-years-old but Pickford has shown his calm, collected nature on a regular basis, especially in England’s round of 16 penalty shootout against Colombia. With the momentum with the South Americans, Pickford remained composed and eventually saved the crucial penalty that allowed England to win their first shootout in a major tournament for decades.
The Toffees player might not be a universally popular choice among United fans, but he is certainly not one to rule out given his status of being one of the uprising goalkeepers of his generation.
Thomas Strakosha: Lazio
Thomas Strakosha is the unknown quantity in this list to those who do not follow Serie A, but he is one to take seriously.
The Albania international is an up and coming goalkeeper that has been courted by some of the biggest European clubs out there over the past few years, all while only making his proper breakthrough in the 2017/18 campaign.
Off the back of his 53 appearances last season, Strakosha has nailed down the number one jersey at Lazio and will be eyeing a move to a more influential club in Europe’s top five leagues. The 23-year-old has time on his side, but should the opportunity arise, he would not think twice about switching sides.
He might be the easiest profile to obtain on this list, but that does not mean he will come at a cheap price. Lazio set their price at around £35 million last summer and with the way he is play, that fee is likely to only rise in the near future.
Standing tall at 1.93m, Strakosha is a commanding and physical goalkeeper with aerial prowess. He might not have the distribution abilities of Pickford or shot-stopping qualities of Oblak, but he does climb above others to claim what is his.
While it was difficult for De Gea to adjust to English football given the physicality aspect of the league, Strakosha should not have the same problem due to his style of goalkeeping. He is not yet globally known, but the Albanian will burst onto the scene soon enough.
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