Manchester United have been linked with a shock move for Pepe Reina as a replacement for David De Gea. Would it be a step backwards for the club?
It’s being widely reported that Sir Alex Ferguson is losing patience with his current number one David De Gea and will consider offering Pepe Reina a deal to replace him at Old Trafford.
One of De Gea’s biggest weaknesses in recent games has been his inability to create a commanding physical presence in the United defence. Both goals the side conceded against West Ham United at the weekend came from close range headers.
However, the 22-year-old ‘keeper was originally signed from Atletico Madrid as the long-term replacement for United legend Edwin van der Sar and Ferguson would have been aware of De Gea’s weaknesses.
United, and the player, will be fully aware of the necessity for De Gea to bulk out physically, become stronger and to become more commanding of the United defence.
De Gea only signed for United in the summer of 2011 and he will still be learning about the English game and the art of goalkeeping in general.
The only reason this story is even in the news is because De Gea has been linked as the possible successor to Iker Casillas at Real Madrid and Pepe Reina’s future at Liverpool has been questioned throughout the season.
Also bear in mind that Reina has been linked with a move to Old Trafford before and it is one he said he would never make because he understands how painful it would be for his admirers across Merseyside.
There is even evidence to suggest that De Gea is being used as the scapegoat for a lot of soft goals that United have given away this season which has been a consistent problem.
Both James Collins headers in the weekend FA Cup draw at West Ham could have been prevented by faster, and more passionate, closing down of Joe Cole who delivered the ball for both goals.
For the second goal particularly in that game, TV footage even shows De Gea realising the danger seemingly long before any of his defenders, urging them to close the former Liverpool man down before going insane when the goal was conceded.
Sir Alex Ferguson is too old and too experienced to give in to his knee jerk reactions and gut feelings. Deep down inside he knows that axing De Gea would be counter productive for the club and would just leave them with the same goalkeeping problem in a few years when his replacement retires.
Does De Gea have a long term future at United? Tell us what you think.
image: © James Boyes