Erik ten Hag has very clear ideas about how he wants his team to play and it will be no different at Manchester United. He likes his attackers to get into the box as quickly as possible, he likes his wingers to play in the spaces and he likes one of his full-backs to act as a pseudo centre-back while the other steps forward (at least that’s how his Ajax team plays).
And his footballing principles also extend to his goalkeeper, who needs to be good on the ball to help contribute to team building and also have full command of his box. It has led many United fans to wonder if David de Gea – who has been criticized for his distribution and all-round play this season, although his shot-stopping has been superb – will be fit for the task under Ten Hag.
The Manchester Evening News understands Dean Henderson could leave the club if he is not guaranteed the No.1 spot under Ten Hag. If that happens, the club can look for a replacement, but they probably have to save some funds to invest in other positions. So let’s look at three free agents United could sign to fill the goalkeeper job:
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Geronimo Rulli having taken the starting place at Villarreal due to Asenjo’s injury, the Spanish goalkeeper could be available this summer. He should act as a stopgap while United consider the goalkeeping job under Ten Hag, especially with De Gea’s contract currently only lasting one more year.
The Albanian keeper has been a key part of the Lazio squad for several seasons now and at 27 he has his best years ahead of him. Strakosha isn’t a significant improvement on De Gea, but he could act as a suitable long-term replacement if United want to look to sign a young keeper next season who better fits Ten Hag’s ethos.
The best option on this list, the Arminia Belefield keeper is incredibly good on the ball and would allow United to develop at the back and also counter quickly as his long distribution is one of his strongest assets. As with all the options on this list, signing a player on a free or low-cost transfer would allow United to solve the goalkeeper problem next season.
Ortega is also incredibly proactive off his line and he prevents fires rather than putting them out, which has been a problem for United’s Spanish shot-stopper this season. All in all, if Henderson were to leave United should look for a young replacement who fully embodies Ten Hag’s principles, but if they can’t then Ortega would be a good option.
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