Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has improved tremendously throughout the course of this season but back in January there were calls for manager Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him with a more experienced alternative.
The jury were still out on De Gea as the winter transfer window opened little over three months ago and United were linked with interest in several ‘targets’ most notably in shape of Stoke’s Asmir Begovic and Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet.
De Gea had been unconvincing last season – his debut in the Premier League – and there were concerns over his lack of command over his penalty area, especially defending set-pieces, his preference to punch rather catch, and his ability more generally.
These concerns didn’t subside until midway through this season, as the young Spaniard appeared to gain confidence and form. His outstanding display against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, along with some quality saves domestically, earned him plaudits from his manager, fans and commentators alike.
The World Cup and European Championships winner and captain of Spain was dropped back in December to the bench where he has since spent the majority of this season after since picking up an injury.
The 31-year-old believes he has been dropped due to ‘personal reasons’ likely his rift with Mourinho who felt Casillas had become too comfortable and had subsequently let his form drop.
Mourinho has opted to rotate between backups Antonio Adan and Diego Lopez, the latter having featured in Real Madrid’s controversial victory over United at Old Trafford, making a number of key saves and important challenges.
Clearly things have soured between the manager and his captain but there is no doubt Casillas is one of the best, if not the best, goalkeeper in the world and has been for quite some time, having established himself as number on for club and country by the time he was 21.
Now, Casillas will likely wait to see if Mourinho departs for pastures new at the end of this season before he decides on his own future. However, I wonder whether Manchester United would be able to convince him his future ought to reside at Old Trafford?
I wonder whether Ferguson would consider swapping Casillas’ 22-year-old countryman who is reportedly interesting Real Madrid, incidentally.
Casillas is one of the most experienced and decorated footballers in the world and whilst De Gea has high potential of succeeding him over the course of the next decade, Casillas still has a plenty of time left in his career. Perhaps United would consider convincing him to spend his remaining time in Manchester.
image: © jansolo09