David de Gea’s summer exit appears inevitable after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selected Dean Henderson as first choice for the Premier League game with Brighton.
Henderson has made the leap and overtaken De Gea, and on high wages, an exit appears to be the sensible move.
There are very few clubs who could afford De Gea, but there should still be interest. Even if United have to loan him out and part-finance the wages, the Spaniard must be allowed a fresh start.
De Gea has been a terrific goalkeeper for United. He is the club’s all-time 22nd highest appearance maker with 434 games for the club.
And yet there is a sense he has underachieved, not through his own fault, simple because he was the top goalkeeper through a period of change and managerial instability, as opposed to having Sir Alex Ferguson in charge for his entire stint.
The timing is right for De Gea to move on. Dean Henderson is a strong, quality replacement who United cannot afford to lose, considering the fact he is seven years younger. De Gea should be allowed to go and compete for trophies elsewhere at another European club.
United have to handle this well
United have a duty to De Gea out of respect, to handle this transition and his exit well.
Solskjaer has made the transition pretty smooth so far, juggling both goalkeepers through the season.
But his record is not blameless. He got it totally wrong with Sergio Romero last season by dropping him for all the cup semi-finals, and then United refused to sell or loan him at all.
United should not treat De Gea in a similar way. Romero did not deserve it, and nor does De Gea. United have to handle the situation sensitively.
This means United must stop leaks coming from behind the scenes, trying to create bad blood, or criticising De Gea. The club can’t completely control what is written in the media, but they should make extra efforts for damage control.
Europa League decisions
With Dean Henderson now Manchester United’s Premier League goalkeeper, Solskjaer has an option to make De Gea the Europa League goalkeeper.
Up until this point, Henderson has been the cup keeper, and United have rotated the two.
Do United simply switch, and bring De Gea in against Granada, or go ‘all in’ on Henderson?
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer here, but giving game time to De Gea could help diffuse the situation.
If he is able to lead United to Europa League glory, it would be an ideal way for him to sign out.
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