Home » Shockingly poor stats suggest David de Gea should be replaced – Illan Meslier in the frame

Shockingly poor stats suggest David de Gea should be replaced – Illan Meslier in the frame

by David O'Neill

Illan Meslier is being considered by Manchester United following David de Gea’s dreadful start to the season.

The Mirror claims that the demands Erik ten Hag places on his goalkeeper have led to United looking to Leeds United’s keeper as a potential long-term replacement for De Gea.

The Spaniard has been clearly exploited by both Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford already this season.

As argued by Maram AlBaharna’s in her article for The Athletic, in possession United are always a man down with De Gea in the side.

His pass maps show a preference for layoffs, even in situations where such actions put his teammates under pressure. This was particularly evident against Brighton:

The reason behind that preference seems to be that he is incredibly poor at medium and long-range passing.

He attempt to dink the ball over an opposing team’s first line of pressure or go long into space often end up out of play, easily intercept, and/or in his own net.

De Gea’s limitations on the ball are no secret to anyone in world football, not least to his teammates who – according to the data – seem to avoid passing to him at all costs:

He is also the least effective goalkeeper in the league when in comes to engaging crosses and lacks any inclination to sweep – both contributing factors to the disorganisation of the Red Devils’ defence.

By contrast, Illan Meslier is a proactive goalkeeper and a solid distributer of the ball.

He is among the most involved goalkeepers in the division, completing more open play passes than all but three goalkeepers last season.

The Frenchman is just 22 years of age but with De Gea looking shockingly easy to exploit both on the ball and facing it, Meslier would be an instant improvement in many goalkeeping metrics as much as a long-term successor.

The stumbling block at this stage would be the fee Leeds would likely demand for their number one.

They spent just £6m to sign him from FC Lorient, but his burgeoning reputation as the best young goalkeeper in the league and the fierce rivalry between the clubs would make a deal difficult to complete.

According to Fabrizio Romano, the keeper in considered “untouchable” by his club.”

United would certainly need to go beyond the reported £7m allocated to the budget, although De Gea may well force their hand.


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