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Man United: Jordan Pickford can bolster title hopes

Manchester United are seemingly unstoppable at the moment, enjoying a rich vein of form that has seen them unbeaten since way before the World Cup began.

Most of their success is owed to the cutthroat attitude of Erik ten Hag, who has slowly worked his way through the squad, brutally removing those who do not align with his philosophies.

That, therefore, makes David De Gea’s continued presence somewhat baffling, considering his lack of proficiency with the ball at his feet.

For context, the Dutch manager’s main goalkeeper at Ajax was Andre Onana, who, in his penultimate season in the Eredivisie, recorded an immense 80% pass accuracy.

Meanwhile, the Spaniard has only managed a 67% pass accuracy.

It is for this reason that surely the 32-year-old will start to be phased out eventually, with Jordan Pickford potentially poised to take that mantle.

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Manchester-United-star-Marcus-Rashford

Who was Man United's top scorer across the entire 21/22 campaign?

That was per the claims of Fabrizio Romano, who spoke on Wednesday morning about the Red Devils’ reported interest in the 28-year-old.

The England goalkeeper is the quintessential modern shot-stopper, which is evidenced by his 6 foot 1 stature.

His performances for a struggling Everton side have been admirable, and his continued presence in the starting side for his country is indicative of his ability to perform on the big stage. 

Such was his displays at EURO 2020, he spurred Sky Sports editor Simeon Gholam to dub him a “legend“, and encouraged The Athletic’s Stuart James to laud the “crucial saves” he had been called upon to make.

This season, despite the Toffees languishing at the bottom of the table, he maintains a 7.04 average Sofascore rating alongside a 72% save success rate. Although his pass accuracy may look poor at 57%, the way his current side play often negates his true qualities.

The defenders rarely ask for the ball, and there are few runs with which he could try and thread a pass towards.

Despite this, he has managed to get one assist, and his 18.3 accurate passes and 7.8 accurate long balls are far greater than the 17.2 and 4.7 that De Gea puts up in those respective metrics.

A capable pair of hands in goal with a magic left foot to boot, his addition could be imperative in Ten Hag finally getting his vision across to the whole squad.

Few other ‘keepers can find a pass like Pickford can, and the pinpoint accuracy he can display with his long kicks is stunning. His quality merits him being far above his current predicament with the struggling Merseyside outfit.

Do Manchester United need to replace De Gea?

Yes

Yes

No

No

With just 18 months left on his £100k-per-week deal, and United already included in an unexpected title race, perhaps Pickford could be the final piece of the puzzle to see the Manchester giants return to their perch at the top of English football.