Former Premier League goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has joined the growing list of pundits criticising Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea after another costly error against Spurs on Friday.
The record four-time winner of United’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Award and a player once considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers has fallen from grace after a series of errors stretching back to his abject performances for Spain in the 2018 World Cup.
High profile errors against Arsenal’s Mustafi in December 2018, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Barcelona’s Leonel Messi then cost United dear last season.
This season has not been any better, with the Spaniard committing errors leading to goals by Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Anholt, Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Everton’s Dominic Calvert Lewin and bungling a corner which led to a Victor Lindelof own goal against Everton.
The 29-year-old’s inability to save Steven Bergwijn’s shot on Friday became his eighth ‘error directly leading to goal’ in two seasons – a shocking statistic.
And following Roy Keane’s scathing attack on De Gea’s performance on Sky Sports on Friday, former Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester keeper Schwarzer has said on BBC Radio 5 Live (via The Mirror) that De Gea’s performance level was simply unacceptable.
‘Over the past 18 months David de Gea has made a considerable amount of mistakes and that’s not expected from a keeper at that level,’ Schwarzer said.
‘For a top, world-class keeper, the maximum number of mistakes leading to a goal shouldn’t be more than two a season and he’s clearly made more than that.’
‘It will come to a head, when you’ve got Dean Henderson playing so well at Sheffield United and he’s made it clear he won’t sit on the bench.’
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‘Is Henderson good enough to take the number one shirt at United? He has the potential.’
Whilst United would appear to be in a marvellous position of having such a talented young pretender ready and eager to take the crown, the situation is complicated by the fact that it will not be easy – or even possible – to offload De Gea to another club.
His £375,000 per week salary makes him the highest paid player in the Premier League and it is a salary that is comfortably more than that of any other keeper in the world (Manuel Neuer, for example, earns around £150,000 per week and Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois is the second highest paid on a reported £220,000 per week).
In fact, De Gea was already the world’s highest paid keeper before the ridiculous 56% pay rise awarded to him in July 2019 – a time at which the current run of erratic form was already well under way.
This means that even if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to offer Henderson the number one jersey, he will probably have to persuade the board to buy out De Gea’s contract or do what the club has done with Alexis Sanchez – loan him out to a club willing to pay a decent portion of his wages.