Former Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has asked the question of whether the Red Devils need to “spend some money on a replacement” as he claims that De Gea has cost United this season. “Where are we with De Gea? He makes unbelievable saves but he does make the odd error now,” Kenny told Football Insider. “He has cost them this season. Brentford, just off the top of my head. For me, has his course run at Man United?
“He has been there for nearly 10 years, that’s a long time. Does he need a fresh challenge? Apparently, he is on a lot of money as well. It’s a tough one. Do they have to go out and spend some money on a replacement or do they keep him? For me, he has recently been off it.
“I know he got player of the year last season but I think anyone would have got that playing in goal for them last season. He has done this before where he hasn’t been playing well then he has come back and been unreal. It’s a difficult one to pick at the minute.”
Ten Hag has been forced to alter his tactics at time due to De Gea’s inability to play out from the back, which was capitalised on by Brentford as they pressed high and scored from an error the 31-year-old made during their 4-0 demolition of Ten Hag’s side in August. De Gea has since been instructed to play more direct and be prepared to kick the ball long, rather than connecting with centre-backs Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
The Dutch boss praised De Gea’s leadership however ahead of their 2-0 win over Moldovan side FC Sheriff in the Europa League. “That is clear – his experience helps us a lot,” Ten Hag said. “He organises and he leads the back four. It’s really important to give the team the right mentality and the attitude to win games.”
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It could have been a very different story for De Gea however, as he revealed he was close to signing for Wigan before moving to Old Trafford.
“I was in Atletico and it was the same season I made my debut and I was like the third keeper and not even count[ed] for the team, just training,” De Gea explained to BT Sport.
“Nothing else. So Wigan got in contact with me just to sign for them and I was very, very close to sign[ing] for Wigan.”
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