Manchester United fans have been here before; after the end of one great goalkeepers reign confusion and doubt over the long term successor for that position is rife with Sir Alex effectively putting the two options at his disposal in a head-to-head battle for the number one position by alternating them between games.
Anders Lindegaard has also been brought in, originally to play back-up but in recent weeks it seems he has taken the number one jersey from the Spaniard.
The two are very different as keepers. Lindegaard is your bog standard Scandinavian goalkeeper. He is safe as houses a great believer in catching the ball, nullifying threat by being a blunt instrument toward attacking forces. However when it comes to reactions and shot-stopping the 28-year-old Dane is not in the same territory as the cat-like de Gea.
The Spaniard also has magnificent distribution, a must for the modern world of football. It may also surprise you that the 21-year-old was the Premier League’s top goalkeeper last season in terms of saves per shot ratio; ahead of the recently beloved Joe Hart.
Sir Alex has announced that alternating the two is not a problem but you have to wonder if that is true. The goalkeeper is often described as being a little bit ‘mad’ if you like and there are elements of truth to that statement. No position on the football pitch is lonelier and no two players in competition develop such a close relationship off the pitch, working with each other in training every day; watching all the opposing players mistakes, nuances and trends. It can be very unnerving going up against each other in such a way and the pressure to succeed must be palpable.
While I personally feel David De Gea will become a very good goalkeeper, although prone to the odd mistake, maybe it is time to consider cutting their losses on the Spaniard and giving the role to the safer Lindegaard on a permanent basis. They could make a fair amount of money in the Spaniard, considering his age and potential and it would quell fan unrest at his shaky style of play.
Or a more obvious answer is to remove Lindegaard from the equation. Goalkeeper's usually have delicate ego's and the constant swapping of the number one jersey cannot inspire either man, especially the younger one brought in on such a substantial fee.
Sell Lindegaard and get behind David de Gea is the solution; and with young England international Sam Johnstone on the books they would have suffiicient cover not to mention Hull City loanee Ben Amos.
One thing is for sure, the alternating system didn't work for Massimo Taibi and Mark Bosnich; or Tim Howard and Roy Carroll for that matter and showing faith in one of the two may be a huge benefit to Manchester United.
But what do you think? Should Manchester United stick by one of their goalkeepers?
image: © James Boyes