Football fans who have followed the game in the Premier League era will think of two names when you mention Manchester United goalkeepers and they are Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar. Fabian Barthez, and current incumbent David de Gea, have both had good spells as Manchester United number one’s but neither have won the trophies or had the success as the two mentioned above. As the club enter the summer, they know that their transitional period is coming to an end and they must now get a spine in place that is good enough to climb to the top of the English game again and getting the right goalkeeper is key to that.
Both Schmeichel and Van der Sar were dominating figures, who could organise their defence well and intimidated opposition attackers. Although David de Gea is an excellent goalkeeper who is destined to go to the very top of the game, he doesn’t have the presence that past keepers at Old Trafford have had. He also does seem keen on a move back to Spain and it would be more beneficial for the club to let him go if he isn’t committed to the United cause.
This brings me to Asmir Begovic, who has been one of the best goalkeepers in England for a number of years now. The Bosnian has long been linked with a move to a bigger club, but he has yet to leave the Brittania Stadium. He is capable of being the number one at a club chasing league titles as he is consistent, reliable and dominates his box in a way that De Gea doesn’t.
Begovic has once again been impressive this season, keeping 7 clean sheets and making 59 saves. He has also managed an impressive distribution accuracy of 68%. In the modern game, goalkeepers need to be good with their feet and that will be a prerequisite for Louis van Gaal this summer if they need a new number one. Begovic fits the bill.
De Gea has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this campaign, keeping an impressive 11 clean sheets and making 78 saves. He also has a marginally better distribution accuracy than Begovic at 69%. It’s clear that De Gea has been central to Manchester United’s return to the top four and it will be a blow to the fanbase if he opts to move on this summer. However, Begovic will provide a more dominating figure in goal, especially when it comes to controlling his box and he could live up to the standards set by the likes of Schmeichel and Van der Sar.
At a huge club like Manchester United, it’s crucial to develop a spine to the team which can stay together for years. This allows the side to be stable for a number of years as summer overhauls every year can be a huge distraction. Louis van Gaal must do this now after a year settling into his new job. Sir Alex Ferguson was a master at building side after side that could dominate the Premier League.
Although David de Gea is more than capable of being the club’s number one for the next decade, this speculation over his future is a huge distraction at the moment. Van Gaal needs to sit down with his goalkeeper and get him to decide on his future. He needs to either commit himself to staying at Old Trafford for the long term or he needs to leave this summer to allow United to build for the long term. If De Gea does move back to Spain, Asmir Begovic is a ready made replacement.