David de Gea

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Kepa replaces De Gea as Spain starting goalkeeper

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There’s a clear new starting goalkeeper for the Spanish National Team.

After three straight starts, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has taken the mantle of Spain’s No. 1 goalkeeper from Manchester United’s David De Gea. According to Spanish publication Marca, the decision likely came from both assistant and interim coach Robert Moreno and Spain head coach Luis Enrique, through mobile correspondence over the past few weeks.

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Kepa started at the Faroe Islands in a 4-1 win last Friday for Spain on the road and he’s followed that with a start at home against Sweden. Kepa had made his first start in this run in a 2-0 win at Malta. All three matches have been for Euro 2020 qualification.

The move away from de Gea comes after a number of factors. De Gea has had, by all accounts, a rough season with Man United, especially as the team struggled through the last two months of the Premier League season. In April alone, his three errors in four games cost his team victories, and were so out of character compared with how he had played in the past. It’s as if all the pressure he had absorbed over the years had finally caused the dam to break.

At the same time, de Gea was in goal as Spain finished second in their UEFA Nations League group in 2018, including defeats to both England and Croatia.

At the same time, Kepa has had a very strong season in his first campaign at Chelsea, leading the side to third place in the league and stepping into goal for the UEFA Europa League final. It’s a deserved promotion for Kepa, even if it’s a tough demotion for de Gea.

The Man United goalkeeper, at 28-years old, could still have a future at the national team level. However, he’ll have to be happy to play second fiddle yet again after three years as the Spain No. 1.

Cillessen to replace De Gea at Man United?

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Jasper Cillessen has emerged as a leading candidate to replace David De Gea at Manchester United.

De Gea has just one year left on his contract at United and the Spanish goalkeeper has yet to commit his future to the Old Trafford club. It is believed De Gea wants a new deal matching the $635,000 per week wages United’s top earner Alexis Sanchez is on.

A report from the Daily Record in Scotland states that Cillessen, 30, wants to leave Barcelona this summer and the Catalan club want $32 million plus performance based add ons for the Dutch international goalkeeper.

Would this be a good move?

It is clear DDG went through a rough spell at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, but he was named the PL’s best goalkeeper in five of the past seven seasons and United’s player of the season in four of the last five campaigns. His quality is undoubted and it is quite possible his poor recent form is due to uncertainty around his future.

But if it seems unlikely that De Gea will sign a new contract, United should cash in this summer. Real Madrid aren’t too happy with Thibaut Courtois and that seems like the most likely destination for DDG. That way United get at least $30 million for De Gea, and probably more if they play their cards right, and don’t run the risk of losing him for nothing next season.

As for Cillessen, the former Ajax star has spent three seasons as a back up for Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the Nou Camp and at his age he now needs to start playing regularly. He is good with his feet and is a regular starter for the Netherlands on the international stage.

De Gea has enjoyed an incredible career at Old Trafford and in recent seasons his heroics have kept United within touching distance of the top four and in the hunt for trophies.

Biggest flops of the Premier League season

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We’ll try not to be too harsh as our review of the Premier League season continues with the most disappointing performances of 2018-19.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal ]

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham ]


— Fulham — You can’t pin it on any single manager, nor a single transfer flop. There was just something around Craven Cottage that didn’t allow the men to mesh on the big stage. Andre Schurrle petered out, Alfie Mawson stumbled when healthy, Jean-Michael Seri wasn’t as advertised, and Claudio Ranieri couldn’t summon any saviors after Slavisa Jokanovic also failed to find the right chemistry.

— Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 23-year-old just couldn’t quite adapt after being hailed by many including us as a remarkable free transfer from Schalke.

— Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea — Part of this blame lives with us: The expectation that came with Maurizio Sarri‘s favored man arriving to make good on the failures of Alvaro Morata was too high; Higuain finished with five goals in 1100 minutes.

— Mohamed Elyounoussi, Southampton — Maybe his Premier League adjustment will come in Season Two, but zero goals and plenty of days outside the Saints’ 18 hardly make for good value.

Fred, Manchester United — Cost the Red Devils about $3.5 million per league appearance. Shoulder shrug emoji, as Pep Guardiola also reportedly viewed the Brazilian as a fix for his midfield.

— David De Gea, Manchester United — While not a new signing, the Red Devils’ perennial savior was not close to his standards in 2018-19. In fact, the Spaniard was basically league average and couldn’t bail out his defenders (which underscores Jose Mourinho’s assertion regarding their quality).

Solskjaer confirms De Gea will start for Man United against Huddersfield

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Ole Gunnar Solakjaer has confirmed that under-fire goalkeeper David De Gea will keep his place as Manchester United hosts Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Spaniard has struggled over the past few weeks, with errors leading to goals that open fresh wounds from this past summer’s World Cup, where De Gea also performed poorly. Most recently, De Gea fumbled a deep effort from N'Golo Kante on Sunday against Chelsea that led to Marcos Alonso‘s 43rd minute equalizer in the eventual 1-1 draw with Chelsea. De Gea was seen shaking his head after the mistake, leading some to speculate the mistakes could be having an effect on his mentality, but the Manchester United boss hoped to shoot that down.

“Of course we do [trust De Gea], he’s been fantastic this season,” Solskjaer said in his pre-match press conference after confirming he will start. “Towards the end now he’s been in the headlines maybe for the wrong reasons, but as I’ve said so many times he’s got to deal with that. The goalkeeping department, they’re a fantastic group together with [goalkeeping coach] Emilio [Alvarez] and Sergio [Romero] and Lee [Grant] and David, they’ve been such a tight knitted group so they’ve experienced better times obviously but he’s ready for Sunday.”

Solskjaer did conveniently mention that Sergio Romero, de Gea’s backup, has a knee injury, leaving options quite limited should they decide the Spaniard needed some time on the sidelines. The only other goalkeeper in the squad is 36-year-old Lee Grant who joined from Stoke City in the summer. 20-year-old Paul Woolston is the starter for the U-23 squad, having signed in November as a free agent.

The boss was asked whether Romero would have started if he was fit, but dodged the question, sayin, “Ifs and buts and hypothetical questions. Sergio knows how highly I rate him.”

De Gea’s struggles have mounted for some time, with errors and poor moments in big games of late. He was beaten twice at his near post in the derby against Manchester City a week ago, with Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane both scoring on shots De Gea would like to have back. He saw a Lionel Messi shot squirt right under his outstretched body as Barcelona trounced the Red Devils 3-0 in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal the week before that.

Despite the mistakes, De Gea has been a monstrous figure in goal for Manchester United for nearly the past decade. Since joining in 2011, he has made at least 28 Premier League appearances in every single season, and has hit the 34-game mark in each of the past six seasons. The 28-year-old has played every minute of the league campaign this season, but his seven clean sheets are by far the lowest of his Red Devils career, with at least 11 clean sheets in every season since moving to Old Trafford.

Solskjaer, Mata come to De Gea’s defense after costly error

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Even after David de Gea’s costly mistake robbed Manchester United of a pair of sorely needed points in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, the Spanish net-minder remains comfortably in the black over his last few seasons, at least in the minds of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and midfielder Juan Mata.

[ MORE: Three things learned: Man United v. Chelsea ]

If anyone has earned himself a bit of leeway should he turn in a bad performance, or three, it’s De Gea. As recently as last season, it was De Gea who, at times singlehandedly, kept Man United in games and willed them to positive results in the face of the atrocious defending taking place in front of him. Mata hasn’t forgotten that — quotes from the BBC:

You know David is unquestionable for me. His level has been fantastic for this club, he has been the best player over the last years and the points he has saved us have been incredible.

“The important thing is how he reacts, I have 100 percent confidence in him and we all have, today he is obviously not happy, we are not happy, but we will return to training with the right attitude. For me his level is unquestionable.

“He knows I’m here for him and what I can do is give him an honest consideration of situation, he is disappointed over his situation but he is one of best in the world. Everyone makes mistakes but he’s strong mentally and he will save many goals in the next games. He has been the best for us and he had the team’s full confidence.”

Three points would have seen United leapfrog Arsenal for fifth and draw level with the Blues for fourth, though they would have remained behind on goal differential.

Still, Solskjaer knows the level at which De Gea has performed for the last half-decade or so, so the idea of dropping him over Sunday’s mistake warranted a very short, direct answer after the game — quotes from the BBC:

“No. David has been a fantastic keeper at this club, his reaction after City was good and I was confident in him. He knows he could do better with their goal but it’s one of those things again.”

“Every single player has good and not so good moments. He’s one of the best and obviously he’s disappointed with their goal. He has been the best player for this club, he has my full support and the club’s full support and everyone who loves the club should give him their support. We must be with him, he has our full confidence, he’s my friend and one of best goalkeepers in the world.”