Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a dilemma on his hands as he draws up his plans for next season. David de Gea has looked uncertain between the sticks for some time now and endured another error-strewn showing against Chelsea last weekend.
Dean Henderson, meanwhile, has impressed during his loan spell at Sheffield United and is knocking on the door of the first-team picture at Old Trafford.
There’s even Sergio Romero, who’s proved a capable deputy for United in the cups and would relish a crack at making the No 1 spot his own.
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Solskjaer needs to make a decision with the summer transfer window and then the 2020/21 season rapidly approaching. But who should he choose?
Express Sport experts are on hand to pick out who Solskjaer needs to put his faith in.
Gideon Brooks – Dean Henderson
Conspiracy theorists will note the timing, so shortly after De Gea’s howler-fest on Sunday, that Chelsea are interested in Dean Henderson were helpful for the young goalkeeper.
What better way to turn up the heat on United than to float the idea they risk losing him to their closest rival to stick with De Gea and his confidence crisis?
Yet if United react and recall Henderson to Old Trafford to be No 1 – more than doubling his wages to match the Chelsea offer of £170,000 a week or thereabouts – they will have a back up sitting in the stands on more than double that?
Does Ed Woodward want another Alexis Sanchez? Almost certainly not.
Henderson probably should be United’s No 1 but perhaps the only solution could be to get rid of Sergio Romero, have Henderson back as back-up and tell the pair to fight for the gloves next season whilst trying to engineer an honourable move out for the Spaniard.
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Matthew Dunn – David de Gea
The Spain international is still only 29 – Edwin Van der Sar played for United until he was 41.
After a break to charge the batteries – which may not be easy with internationals following hot on the heels of the culmination of the Europa League – some of the mental aberrations will hopefully sort themselves out and he can go back to being the dependable goalkeeper who was selected by his peers as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League for five of his seasons at Manchester United.
The key, though, is to bring Dean Henderson back inside the fold as his No 2 to provide realistic competition and a Plan B should De Gea need removing from the firing line if he suffers a similar lapse in form next season.
Luke Gardener – Dean Henderson
Dean Henderson should be given the chance to be the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United next season.
David de Gea has been superb for years at the club but he is now consistently making errors which are costing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team dear.
This isn’t just a dip in form, his last two seasons have been well below the standard required.
Henderson has proven himself at Sheffield United on loan and deserves an opportunity.
It’s a big step up but he is the best option for next season with plenty of competition from De Gea and Sergio Romero.
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James Benson – David de Gea
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing quite the conundrum but, for all concerned, sticking with David de Gea might be the answer for next season.
Yes, the Spaniard has dropped some clangers over the past 18 months and is nowhere near the form which once made him the planet’s best goalkeeper.
But, at 29, he’s got the experience to carry the burden involved in having to fight back and United owe it to him following his own – perhaps – misguided loyalty during their barren years.
Dean Henderson only has a season of top-flight football under his belt and should be allowed to stay at Sheffield United for another 12 months.
Chris Wilder is doing a great job of nurturing the 23-year-old and staying at Bramall Lane would be ideal for his development.
Sergio Romero, meanwhile, has his moments in the cup, but there’s a reason United aren’t fighting off top clubs for his signature.
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Stuart Ballard – Dean Henderson (but they’ll keep faith in David de Gea for a bit longer)
This is more based on what I think Manchester United will do rather than what they should do. Dean Henderson’s terrific season at Sheffield United should see him rewarded as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice goalkeeper moving forward, but current circumstances make that difficult this time around.
If Henderson was to come in and be the No 1 option, De Gea would almost certainly have to be sold and it’s unlikely any clubs right now would be willing to match what United value the Spaniard at.
Goalkeepers aren’t in high demand at the elite clubs with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all settled on their first-choice options and the coronavirus pandemic has meant other teams who would potentially be interested in signing De Gea focus their finances elsewhere.
The risk United face though is how long would Henderson be willing to wait to get his chance at Old Trafford?
De Gea will likely hold on to his spot next season but it’s only a matter of time before United make the decision to switch for Henderson.
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