The lowdown: ‘Keeper conundrum
United faced somewhat of a goalkeeping merry-go-round this summer as Lee Grant moved onto pastures new, Dean Henderson left for Nottingham Forest on loan and Tom Heaton arrived as a third-choice experienced stopper.
As a result, Erik ten Hag was understood to be on the lookout for an additional option between the sticks and the Red Devils were heavily linked with Watford ace Daniel Bachmann.
That move failed to materialise and Ten Hag was forced to name Heaton as the backup for the opening day and take young starlets Matej Kovar and Nathan Bishop on the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
The latest: Meslier on the radar
As per Dan Sheldon and Laurie Whitwell for The Athletic, Meslier is ‘potentially seen as a long-term replacement’ for De Gea at Old Trafford.
However, it’s claimed that Leeds have ‘no intention to sell’ the 22-year-old nine-cap France Under 21 ace this summer.
The report also states that in lieu of making a move for the ‘keeper once described as ‘fearsome’ by talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino, United could consider a short-term solution in the shape of Southampton’s Alex McCarthy or Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka.
The verdict: One for the future
There can be no doubting De Gea’s supreme commitment since arriving in Manchester. Despite rare lapses in form, the 31-year-old Spaniard has been a brilliant servant to the club across 487 appearances and was once again named as the Players’ Player of the Year last term.
Additionally, given the longevity goalkeepers can enjoy, the ex-Atletico Madrid man still has time on his side when it comes to occupying the number one position, albeit the club will need to extend a contract that has entered the final 12 months (Transfermarkt).
If indeed De Gea does decide to move on after the expiry of his current deal, signing Meslier from bitter rivals Leeds would be a sensational coup for the United hierarchy.
Last season, the French gloveman made on average 3.8 saves per game and showed off his prowess with the ball at his feet, completing 85 per cent of all passes inside his own half (Sofascore) – something De Gea is often criticised for.
As Ten Hag attempts to implement his own style on the team, adding a goalkeeper of Meslier’s ball-playing abilities – Patrick Bamford said he’s ‘unbelievable‘ – would be the next natural step in the process should a deal be possible further down the line.
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