Manchester United have wielded David de Gea between the sticks for over a decade, but now appear to be actively scouring the market for a new No. 1 shot-stopper.
De Gea’s tumultuous United career finally looks to be reaching its conclusion, with the Spanish keeper set to be cast aside if the club forge a successful deal for a top-class replacement.
One option, of the highest calibre, is Slovenian sensation Jan Oblak, who has cemented his role at Atletico Madrid since signing in 2014 from SL Benfica for a reported £12.8m.
Now reports in Spain are reporting that Oblak is United boss Erik ten Hag’s most desired option, with the likes of Yann Sommer and Diogo Costa also being discussed, a deal could be forged ahead of next season, spiralling De Gea’s fortunes at the club into disarray.
De Gea has enjoyed his fair share of success in Manchester, winning the Premier League in his second season and going on to win a further three major honours, as well as clinching the club’s Player of the Season on four occasions.
However, he has been at the brunt of various criticisms across the past several campaigns, and consequently appears to have lost a once irreplaceable aura at the club.
This term alone, De Gea’s efforts have been littered with mistakes and poor performances, only returning an average rating of 6.79 on Sofascore, with a save percentage of only 66%.
As per FBref, the 32-year-old does not rank in the top 30% of any goalkeeping metrics on offer, with his highest percentage coming in at 39% for clean sheet percentage, when compared to positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues.
Oblak has also undergone a dip in performance this season, with Atletico Madrid struggling to reach the heights of the past several years, but after a career of near-unflinching excellence, he would perhaps rekindle his best form with a move away.
However, the 54-cap international has been an iron wall in front of a formidable defence since arriving in Spain, winning the 20/21 La Liga and a further three major honours with the club, despite the influence of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the country.
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone once said his esteemed shot-stopper “decides the game like Messi”, following his heroic performance at Anfield in 19/20 when the Spanish outfit sank Liverpool, with Oblak making nine saves.
With his potential addition to the Red Devils, a new air of authority and assurance would be installed into the back, with the “woeful” De Gea, as he was called by Dominic Booth, relinquished of first-choice duty.
On a whopping £375k-per-week, shifting the man between the sticks might also prove a worthwhile deal from a financial standpoint, while Oblak is reportedly on a lucrative deal himself, the funds would be freed to grant him his contractual needs and he’s on over £100k-per-week less than the Spaniard, too.
Oblak should be pursued in the coming months, with Ten Hag looking to stamp his own name into the team, and De Gea, for all his contribution, might finally be draping the curtain on his Man United career.