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Gary Neville thinks Manchester United can no longer rely on David De Gea because of his mistakes

Manchester United can no longer rely on goalkeeper David De Gea as he is no longer the player he once was, according to Gary Neville. The former United right-back and captain and now Sky Sports pundit is worried about the form of the Spanish goalkeeper after yet another error led to an opposition goal in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs player, Steven Bergwijn’s hit his near post shot which De Gea tried to punch clear, the ball hitting the back of the net instead. At the time it happened, former United midfielder and captain, Roy Keane was not best please, suggesting that he would be ‘throwing punches‘, which was just the way Keane was. He even said De Gea should ‘get a taxi home’.

It is worrying seeing De Gea struggle with form, especially at a time whereby United needed a strong pair of hands in goal and seeing this mistake, of which there has been three of them so far this season, is not what we want to see. That said though, De Gea has put in a few brilliant performances, so just needs consistency in the right direction.

Neville was kinder that Keane in his discontent to De Gea’s fall from grace but is just as worried. The player will be seeking to win the praise of his teammates, the manager and the supporters as United ready themselves for a visit from Sheffield United on Wednesday evening where another mistake will be costly. Neville speaking on his podcast, said:

“He was the one player United could rely on for the last four years but he’s not the same.

“He hasn’t been the same for some time. When form drops for six months it’s a blip but when it goes on for a year you start to worry.

“When it goes over two years it becomes more permanent. That is now a fair representation of what De Gea is as he’s making lots of mistakes.

“Ones he would never make – he was always somebody you could completely rely on.

“It can only be a confidence thing. The arms, legs and body are the same – it’s got to be the mind.

“The reception he’s got in Spain has affected him. He’s even been booed by Spanish fans when he’s wearing the Spanish shirt.

“In the World Cup in 2018 he really struggled and from that he’s doubted himself. Mentally he’s not quite the same.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a big decision on his hands this summer with the form of on loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is not eligible to play against United on Wednesday, flying high at the Blades and De Gea performing so badly, compared to his former self. Could this be the beginning or the end, or the end of the beginning?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns David De Gea that Dean Henderson is coming to take his place at Manchester United – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed goalkeeper Dean Henderson to become the number one goalkeeper for both Manchester United and England. Henderson has been allowed to remain at Sheffield United for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, despite the delay and the fact that the Blades will be challenging United.

United are fifth in the Premier League with the Blades in sixth place, so the chase for UEFA Champions League football is very much on with United needing to step out of the traps running when they face Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening in London. The 23-year-old will have spent two season in Sheffield at the end of this season.

Henderson has flourished at every stage of his career, being loaned out to Stockport County, Grimsby Town, Shrewsbury Town and not at Sheffield United, rising from the conference to the Premier League in four seasons, playing well in his first season in the top-flight; keeping ten Premier League clean sheets, conceding just 22 goals this season.

Henderson was called into Gareth Southgate’s England squad back in October and was expected to contend with Jordan Pickford ahead of the European Championships this summer, which were postponed until next summer. The player was also linked to Chelsea, something that Solskjaer quashed at the time. Speaking about Henderson, Solskjaer said:

“For me it doesn’t matter when the season ends. The Sheffield United team this season has consisted of Dean in goal so he should be allowed to complete it.

“It’s not been decided in terms of where Dean is going to be next season.

“This season has proved a great experience for him, he’s done himself some favours with his performances, and proved he will be England’s No1 and Manchester United’s No1 at some point.

“It’s not my job to keep the players happy or in the team or out of it. Part of it is their responsibility of performing and doing well.

“Dean has made some great choices over the years and developed fantastically – and still is.”

This could go two ways for Solskjaer and United; it could bring out the best of David De Gea, who has been struggling for form this season and has made some pretty amateur mistakes or it could ruin his confidence and lead Henderson into the squad next season, fighting De Gea for a place in the team. Solskjaer knows what he is doing.

Manchester United unhappy with David De Gea’s recent performances with rumours suggesting a change – reports

Manchester United are reportedly unhappy with the recent performances of goalkeeper, David De Gea and are actively considering a replacement for the player this summer. Back in September, the Spanish international signed a new contract at the club, keeping him there until the summer of 2023, with the option of another year to be added at any time – that is if the club want to keep the player, seemingly they do not.

It is suggested that De Gea, 29, receives £375,000 per week since he signed his new contract and during that time, he has not been in the best of form. It was only during the 2018/19 season that United conceded 54 goals in the Premier League alone, forcing United to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, costing the club £125 million or more – something the club needed to do anyway.

After 29 matches in the Premier League this season, United have conceded 30 goals with De Gea playing in all of those matches. He has made a fair few mistakes also with three errors leading to goals. United academy graduate and Sheffield United loanee, Dean Henderson, has played 27 times in the league this season, conceding 22 goals with one error leading to a goal, having 10 clean sheets to De Gea’s eight.

In all competitions this season, despite the coronavirus pandemic suspending world football, De Gea has made a total of 32 appearances, conceding 33 goals and keeping a total of ten clean sheets – he has played in the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Teammate, Sergio Romero has made 14 appearances this season, conceded three goals and kept 11 clean sheets.

United have Romero for another season, although there is an option to keep him at the club for another year but they may look to bring in a number of goalkeeping changes at the club, which would be a gamble and a change of stance. I would like De Gea to find his form again and do what he has done for the club in the past – become one of, if not the best, goalkeeper in the world.

His mistakes have been harrowing though, seemingly like he has lost most of his confidence. He might want a change – who knows. The one thing is that when United are unhappy with a goalkeeper, there is a big chance that a change is coming. De Gea may not deserve this, especially after putting in performances which made him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year four times in the last six seasons before the current one.

Rumours of the club considering a replacement for De Gea come from journalist Duncan Castles, who was largely correct during the Jose Mourinho reign at the club but has been hot and cold since, give this a 50/50 chance of being true. Granted, De Gea’s performances have been poor at times but we all know exactly what he is capable of, just not whether he could get there again.

Dean Henderson would be my choice of replacement – he has done well in his debut season in the Premier League, also excelling in the Championship, helping the Blades win promotion, doing well with Shrewsbury Town, Grimsby Town and Stockport County in loan spells before – meaning the goalkeeper has played in the conference, League Two, League One, the Championship and now the Premier League in five seasons, which is a great rise for the player.

Sergio Romero would be a shout as backup again, if he stays at the club plus Nathan Bishop, who signed for the club from Southend United in January. United have also been linked with Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, who was linked to the club last summer too with United failing in a £35 million bid for the Cameroon international.

David De Gea rumoured to be sold to ‘aid transfer spree’ but there are players needing to leave well before him

In the media on Thursday, it was reported that Manchester United may sacrifice David De Gea in order to raise the funds for a summer transfer spree. I laughed when I read it. Why would a club like United need to sell a player in order to find transfers and exactly how much does the media think De Gea is worth, not to mention which could would buy him.

De Gea has been great for United but soon to be entering his 30s, there is no guarantee that he will find the form that got him labelled as one of the best goalkeepers in world football, and keep it. United do need to be seeking out the future in the position and that is not Sergio Romero either. Dean Henderson is the player that will set United up there.

United have been linked to a number of players already and the January transfer window only closed four weeks ago. The names that keep being linked are Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, Leicester City’s James Maddison, and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Obviously, this will be a massive fee to sign this trio but would make a statement.

Goal have stated that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be willing to let De Gea leave the club this summer, raising some money to fund his transfer targets. However, with that being said, there are some necessary departures that should happen before De Gea is allowed to leave the Theatre of Dreams.

Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Joel Pereira, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard et al should all be gone before De Gea is allowed to leave. De Gea has been a great servant for the Old Trafford club and has a contract until the summer of 2023, which could be extended for a further year.

It is great that Dean Henderson is doing so well at Sheffield United in their first season back in the Premier League but with him having De Gea to learn from in training, it will see him find a much firmer grip into the position and United do not need another setback like they had during the period of Fabien Barthez, Mark Bosnich, Tim Howard etc before signing Edwin van der Sar.

If United need the money, selling the likes of Pogba, Sanchez, Rojo – who do not seem to want to be at the club would be the best way. United should be keeping players who want to be at the club. Selling Pogba for £90 million, at this moment in time, would be good business for the club as it seems clear he will not play football again this season.

De Gea may have lost form in the last season or so but so have United. Form is temporary and class is permanent – this should be remembered more. Recently, with United’s return to form, De Gea’s form has been improving. This may command a bigger fee for the player or it may rest that the player will remain at United.

It would be a shame if De Gea was sold, but one of the richest clubs in the world, to fund future transfers. It would weaken United’s defence, which could blow up in their faces if Henderson was not ready for the pressure at United, as it would be much different to the pressure in Sheffield. Funding transfer by getting rid of players who have no future at the club is the best way, first of all.

Is Dean Henderson Ready to take over from David De Gea?

Dean Henderson has been in superb form for Sheffield United this season. He’s on loan from Manchester United in what can only be seen as a move to gain vital Premier League experience. 

Along with former Reds keeper Ben Foster and Kasper Schmeichel – son of Peter Schmeichel – he’s kept eight clean sheets, a league high. Sheffield United have taken the league by storm since their return to the top, and are even pushing for European places, and Dean Henderson has been a massive part of their success so far. 

At 22 years-old, he has time on his side. The shot stopper has been tipped to take over from David De Gea as and when the time is right. The young Englishman has made 57 saves this season, which isn’t anywhere near Martin Dubravka’s 93. However, this is testament to the well drilled Blades team he is a part of.

Comparing the two keepers directly, Henderson has outperformed United’s number one in almost every way. He’s made eight clean sheets compared to De Gea’s three. He’s made only one less save than the Spaniard but has a considerably lower pass completion rate – 33.86% compared to De Gea’s 73.11%.

Dean Henderson has conceded eight less goals than De Gea – 19 to his 27 – and has a higher save success. Henderson has saved 75% of shots on his goal, whereas David De Gea has only saved 69.88% of the shots he’s faced. Most importantly, though, De Gea has made two errors leading directly to a goal. Most notably, his blunder which gifted Watford their opening goal at Vicarage Road. 

David De Gea recently signed a new contract which will keep him at the club until at least June 2023. At 28 years-old, it seems he is past his best. His performances of late have raised some eyebrows across the fanbase and many are wondering if he’ll ever be able to replicate the form which helped him earn his place in five PFA Team of the Year squads.

He’s arguably been the best keeper in world football over the past decade along with Manuel Neuer. Although his performances have dipped, he remains to be one of the best goalkeepers in world football. But is it time to move him on and move forward as a club? 

Since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has put emphasis on his desire to build for the future, and with Henderson outperforming De Gea, is there a chance he’ll be challenging the Spaniard for a starting spot in the near future? All good things must come to an end, and maybe it’s time for De Gea to move on. 

TalkSport host Tony Cascarino has had his say on the situation. On Saturday’s Weekend Sports Broadcast, he said:

“I’m looking at De Gea and thinking, I’d have Dean Henderson at Sheffield United over you. He’s had a stinker.

“Henderson is a Manchester United player and his performances have been far better than De Gea’s this season.”

Do you think it’s time for De Gea to move on?

Written by Anton Brooks

David De Gea signs new long-term contract to remain at Manchester United

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has signed a new contract at the Old Trafford club after months of speculation. The 28-year-old will remain at the club until the summer of 2023, although there is the option of a further year to be added to the deal. The player will now be able to ignore any speculation to focus on United’s important season.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed the goalkeeper from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011 and the player was tasked to replace Edwin van der Sar, who left the club that summer. It was not a perfect start for De Gea but Ferguson and his coaching staff stuck with him and he started to show signs of the goalkeeper he has become today.

During his time at United, although the last six years have been stop-start, De Gea has won one Premier League title, one Emirates FA Cup, one EFL Cup, three FA Community Shields and one UEFA Europa League trophy. In the past six years, De Gea has also been named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year four times, which is a great achievement.

This is the best possible news for United at this stage of the rebuild, which will require as much stability in the squad as patience from the supporters. It is not going to be a quick or simple rebuild and will take a period of time in order for it to be perfected. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, De Gea said:

“It has been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honour.

“Since I arrived here, I could never have imagined I would play over 350 games for this club. Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.

“As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here.

“I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club’s tradition of success and reward our fans for their support.

“I am committed to continue repaying the fans for all of the care that they’ve shown me during the good times and the bad.”

Obviously, there is a lot of positivity in the fact that De Gea still feels privileged to play for this great club. Spending eight years of his career at United already, aiming to spend up to five more years. To play as many matches as he has is an achievement also. Imagine what the team could achieve with the experience of De Gea, among others in the future.

United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also gave a statement about the news, which will be an exciting announcement for the Norwegian, who has ensured that the best goalkeeper at the club will remain for at least four more years. This will be important in the rebuild, adding a strong foundation, which also brings stability. Solskjaer said:

“I am delighted that David [De Gea] has committed his long-term future to the club. Over recent years, David has proved himself to be the best in the world and a vital part of our plans as we look to take Manchester United back to where it belongs.

“David is a fantastic person and his outstanding quality provides the perfect base to our defence. Over his time here, David has really understood the values of playing for Manchester United and now represents everything you want in a goalkeeper.

“As a player, he is still hugely determined and hungry to achieve more. We all look forward to working together to meet those ambitions over the coming years.”

This will be an important month for United and De Gea with their return to the UEFA Europa League on Thursday with Kazakhstani side FC Astana heading to Old Trafford, days later with United heading down to London to face West Ham United in the Premier League, before welcoming Rochdale to the Theatre of Dreams in the Carabao Cup days later.

United will end September by welcoming Arsenal to Old Trafford, which is sure to be an embittered match. De Gea and his teammates will now be able to get ready for these fixtures in an important month before moving into October to do it all again. It is great to see De Gea commit to United as I thought he would have left in the summer. Come on UNITED!

Juventus seeking to sign David De Gea as a free agent, opening talks as soon as they can in January – reports

Juventus are ready to open contract talks with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea in a bid to sign him as a free agent, as they did with former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey this summer, according to reports. De Gea is yet to sign a new contract with the Old Trafford club, despite reports that there has been a breakthrough this summer.

De Gea saw his contract extended during last season with the one-year clause being activated, meaning that the Spanish goalkeeper will be free to leave the club at the end of the current season, as long as he does not sign a new contract at the Theatre of Dreams. United will have until the end of the festive period to secure him to a new deal.

Come the 1 January 2020, Juventus will be able to open talks with the player with a bid to get him to sign a pre-contract agreement, which would become active on the 1 July 2020 with the player signing for the Italian champions for no fee, although he will probably get a lump sum to sign for the club, possibly a big wage package.

In the summer, Juventus signed Ramsey on a free, sorting that deal out early in 2019, also signing Adrien Rabiot from Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent, a player United had been linked with under the management of Jose Mourinho. Maurizio Sarri’s side could see De Gea as the long-term replacement for goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Wojciech Szczesny.

The Spanish goalkeeper was linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus earlier in the summer but nothing seemed to materialise, then there was a suggestion of a breakthrough between United and De Gea, which led to reports of a new contract being signed. More recently though, it has been reported that the player will make United sweat until January.

If that is the case, United will need to operate on the fact that the player will leave the club. He is clearly waiting to see what potential suitors will offer him to leave the club as a free agent, so the club may need to cut their losses. Of course, if the season runs smoothly for Dean Henderson at Sheffield United, he could be a long-term replacement for De Gea.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has problems with David De Gea, says Danny Murphy and he has a point

David De Gea is causing problems for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Danny Murphy on talkSPORT. The 28-year-old made another mistake in the final minutes against Crystal Palace on Saturday, resulting in a 2-1 defeat for the Old Trafford club. This summer, De Gea was both linked with a move away and a new contract.

The Spanish goalkeeper, once considered the Spanish number one, has yet to sign a new contract at United, something that was tipped to happen earlier in the summer, however, speculation has suggested that the player will make United sweat until January, considering his options as a free agent where he will be able to sign a pre-contract with foreign clubs.

De Gea has been one of if not the best performer at the club since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/13 season, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times in the past six years with Ander Herrera and most recently Luke Shaw winning the other two. De Gea needs to find his form or face being dropped.

If you look back at last season, which many so-called supporters of the club are doing, especially when the poor results are concerned, De Gea was hardly a confident goalkeeper the majority of the time. That could suggest that something is not quite right with De Gea and United, something which could derail this season too, if not corrected.

United conceded 54 goals in the Premier League alone last season and the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire this summer will go a long way to avert that, however, De Gea will need to be at his best also, otherwise costly mistakes will happen again, like Saturday. So far, United has conceded three Premier League goals.

Murphy is convinced that something is not right at the Old Trafford club, especially where De Gea is concerned. Speaking to talkSPORT, the former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and England midfielder spoke about De Gea and his concerns of the Spaniard, who has made costly errors for the club, saying:

“The worrying thing for United, a couple of worrying things, De Gea again. He should have saved the winner comfortably, another mistake. It’s happening too often. We know how good he can be but there’s something not right and that is a problem for United.”

Murphy is right about De Gea. There needs to be a solution to the problem. If De Gea wants to leave the club, he should be allowed to leave. However, if he wants to remain at the club, which may be the case, he needs to make it known and get his future secured. In the summer, it was suggested that there is an agreement in place to renew his contract.

The goalkeeper in an important player in the team and everything needs to be working well for everything else to work well. De Gea will be challenged by Sergio Romero, who played in cup competitions last season and Lee Grant, who made just one competitive appearance for United last season after Romero was sent off in the Carabao Cup.

Only De Gea, Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward can solve any issues that are not related to pitch performances. If De Gea wants to stay at United for the best years of his contract then he must get his contract renewal signed and continue playing for this great club. If there are issues, the board must rectify them.

David De Gea to ‘keep Manchester United sweating’ over new long-term contract – reports

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea could keep the Old Trafford club sweating until January 2020 before signing a new contract, according to reports. The player is yet to put pen to paper after agreeing, in principle a new £350,000 a week deal to remain at the Theatre of Dreams. He will be a free agent at the end of the 2019/20 season.

The 28-year-old has reportedly agreed on a new six year contract at the Theatre of Dreams, which could be a five-year deal with the option of a sixth – which would ensure the player would remain at United well into his mid-30s, spending the best years of his career at the club. United expect the deal to be completed with the player signing the contract.

They are, however, waiting on the green light to get the deal finalised. There is an issue which relates to the 25% deduction of wages if the club fails to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, which was the case last season. If United fail to reach the elite European competition for two seasons in a row, they lose money from kit supplier, adidas.

This clause would mean that De Gea’s weekly wage would be reduced to around £263,000 if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to finish the season whether in the top four of the Premier League or by winning the UEFA Europa League, which they did under Jose Mourinho during the 2016/17 season, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final at the Friends Arena in Sweden.

The situation is apparently being tracked by Paris Saint-Germain, who were reportedly interested in signing the player in the summer, although no actual offer was made and it just seemed like yet another rumour surrounding the player who could be considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Real Madrid has also been long-term admirers of De Gea, failing to get their transfer of the player sorted on deadline day in Spain during the summer of 2015, which saw the player’s move fail and him sign a new long-term contract at the Old Trafford club weeks later. In January, foreign clubs will be able to offer De Gea a pre-contract.

United triggered the option to extend De Gea’s contract by a further year last season with the player linked with an exit of the club and a reluctance to sign a new deal with the Old Trafford club. However, during the summer, it was reported that there was a breakthrough and Jorge Mendes had been at the club to sort out the new contract.

The four-time Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year would most certainly be a big loss for the club if his new contract was not completed. However, there are players ready to step into the role of the 28-year-old decides not to renew his current contract, despite agreeing on a deal in principle. United still has Sergio Romero until at least the summer of 2021.

Then the club has Joel Pereira, who will be spending the current season on loan with Hearts and Dean Henderson, who is on loan with Premier League club Sheffield United, his second season with the South Yorkshire club. There will be life after De Gea if he did choose to depart the club but as there is an agreement in principle, this might end positively yet.

Looking at Manchester United’s defensive depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United did well during the summer transfer window, adding Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire, who arrived from Leicester City. It was a summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to pay attention to the defence, which allowed more than 50 goals to be conceded in the Premier League along last season.

Solskjaer spent £125 million; £80 million for Maguire and an initial £45 million for Wan-Bissaka giving some much-needed defensive ability ahead of the 2019/20 season in which United would be tasked with chasing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, to regain a place in the top four of the league.

United finished sixth last season, five points adrift of a place in the top four, which could have been much different if United managed to beat both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at the end of the season. However, hindsight is only fantastic when you look back as if you change two factors, other factors may have had to change also.

Goalkeeper depth; Solskjaer does not need to worry in this area.

Solskjaer has three great first-team options in goal this season; David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant. That will be the order of importance in the squad. The club also had the likes of Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara, who have all been loaned out to Sheffield United, Hearts of Midlothian and Burton Albion respectively.

De Gea will be the go-to guy to start the majority of matches, namely in the Premier League. As for the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup, it could well be Romero who features, as he did in the cup competitions last season, other than the UEFA Champions League, of course. Grant could be a shoo-in for matches in these competitions too.

It was hoped that Henderson could have been afforded time in the Premier League this season but with De Gea’s contract being extended by the extra year agreed to in 2015, it was unlikely that he would be the first option in the goalkeeping ranks, however, he will get that Premier League experience he craved for, which might do him some good.

Fullback depth; Solskjaer’s options are much improved this season.

Last season, United’s defence left a lot to be desired. First of all, in the fullback position, Jose Mourinho, who started the season as manager, then Solskjaer had Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, and Diogo Dalot to choose from in both the left-back and right-back positions. Not a lot of pace, or youth for that matter.

Valencia was on the sidelines for much of the season, leaving the other four to contend for places in the squad. Young was often criticised, as way Shaw. Dalot was too inexperienced, but gave his all and Darmian seldom played. This season though, after the departure of Valencia, Wan-Bissaka arrived and has improved the position greatly.

Both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw will face competition from Young and Dalot, who can both play on the left or the right. Darmian may still play a part despite his future up in the air, although his current contract will expire at the end of the season. The fullback role is looking good for the current season with youth coming through the ranks to add more competition.

Central defensive depth; the strongest defence in six years?

Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe in his ranks for the current season. There was the rumour of Rojo likely to depart before the closure of the European transfer window at the start of September, but it is just rumour right now. With seven players, there is some depth in this area.

Bailly is injured until the Christmas period, meaning Solskjaer has six players contesting two positions in the squad. Lindelof and Maguire secured the central defensive area in the 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend and will be expected to resume their positions against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

In case of injury to either Lindelof or Maguire, or the need for rotation, Tuanzebe will be a great option for Solskjaer as he did well during pre-season and learned some valuable things on loan with Aston Villa last season. The likes of Jones and Smalling could also be considered. Rojo not so much, based on pre-season appearances.

The depth of this squad is pretty good, despite the moaning for central midfield signings during the summer transfer window. Solskjaer will have had targets and if it was not possible to sign them, panic buying was just going to create more problems in the future with many players on high wages and unable to be moved on; Alexis Sanchez for instance.

United have many options in different areas; a minimum of three players, counting those already in the first team this season, which are players who have already made their debuts for the club in the recent years. In some positions, United has four sometimes five options, based on my opinion on where they would be able to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

This is the formation which Solskjaer has used more often than not, and a formation which will get the best out of the attacking players, using their hunger, determination and more importantly, their pace to launch attacking and counter-attacking plays during matches. Solskjaer’s identity seems to be young, courage and success.

Above, you can see the 4-2-3-1 formation, keeping an eye on the defence where there is a minimum of three players for each position, listed in order of importance to the squad. At fullback, both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw seem to be safe, although the emergence of Dalot could change that, more for Shaw, if he does not improve as he should have.

In the centre of defence, Lindelof and Maguire are certain to start more matches together, fitness and injury aside, but in that instance, there is some depth which could help get United through a difficult time. Tuanzebe, at least for me, is trusted more than the likes of Jones and Smalling; Bailly is at the bottom because of injury at the present time.

If the Ivorian improves his game, he could add more competition for either centre-back, which in turn will inspire players to perform to the best of their ability in order to keep their place. Competition is the best thing to bring the best out of players. This defence could achieve a lot; first of all to ensure they concede fewer than 54 goals this season.

copyright: JW