Ten Hag identifies No 1 replacement for fading Man Utd stalwart, with the end in sight for him

Jordan Pickford, Tyrone Mings, Phil Foden, England, October 2021

Manchester United will reportedly target Jordan Pickford if David de Gea leaves this summer, with the fading goalkeeper’s future not yet solidified.

De Gea has been a quality asset for United for much of his time at the club. Indeed, he’s racked up 540 appearances for the Red Devils, including 411 in the league.

He’s in the top 40 for most appearances of anybody in Premier League history. That doesn’t happen if a player is not of the very highest quality for years.

Despite the fact he’s been very useful for much of his time at United, his star is fading currently. This season, he’s made four mistakes leading to a goal – the joint-most of a Premier League keeper.

One of those mistakes led to United’s latest loss – against West Ham United – when a somewhat tame Said Benrahma effort evaded De Gea’s grasp and trickled through him into the net.

That led to Ian Wright suggesting United “have to look at” the goalkeeper position.

United manager Erik ten Hag appears willing to keep the faith with De Gea. The Spaniard is out of contract in the summer, and while he’ll apparently have to take a pay cut to pen a new deal, he’s seemingly close to penning it.

Were that not to happen for any reason, with his contract up this summer, he’d leave United for nothing.

Pickford in line to replace De Gea

United have a contingency plan in place should that happen – in the form of Everton goalkeeper Pickford.

The Daily Star reports United will target Pickford ‘if De Gea leaves Old Trafford this summer’. He’s one of a couple of potential options, with Anderlecht keeper Bart Verbruggen also on the shortlist.

Pickford would seem the better option, with years of Premier League experience under his belt. That could be needed in taking over from a club stalwart at one of the world’s biggest sides.

Whether or not De Gea does leave is another question it itself. It’s been suggested he’s been ‘given no assurances’ he’ll remain no1. next season, so could decide to look for a side that will offer him that luxury.

United could surely snare Pickford if that was the case. The Daily Star states Ten Hag ‘knows he can offer Pickford bigger wages and the chance to compete for trophies’ at United.

Pickford deserves big move

Not only has Pickford performed for years in the Premier League – and in an under pressure side for the last couple of seasons – he’s also been England’s no.1 and done a very good job at that.

Indeed, he’s played in the last three major tournaments for England, showing he’s able to perform on the big stage. That shows that he can perform under pressure of different types: when under the cosh at Everton and in huge games for the Three Lions.

That bodes well for his potential move to United. The Red Devils know they’d be getting a player who can step up in big moments, no matter the occasion.

As such, if De Gea is to leave, they’d be in safe hands with Pickford between the sticks. He could fulfil the potential that he has shown for years, and seems deserving of the opportunity to be able to do so.

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