Can trusted Romero stop De Gea returning between Old Trafford sticks?
David de Gea saw his dream switch to Real Madrid collapse within the final minutes of the Spanish transfer deadline this summer, meaning he must remain with Manchester United until at least January before eventually moving on.
The Spaniard was voted as the club’s player of the year for the last two seasons, with his dynamic displays between the Old Trafford sticks making him a fan favourite with the Red Devils, who are 14/1 with Coral to lift the Premier League title.
Although, things have turned sour for the 23-year-old since his attempted switch to Madrid and he now will aim to regain his place as number one, but will Louis van Gaal’s trusted replacement Sergio Romero be able to thwart such a return?
The Argentina international goal guard arrived on the red half of Manchester this summer on a free transfer from Sampdoria, a surprise singing considering the 28-year-old played second fiddle to Monaco’s Danijel Subasic during his 2013/14 loan spell in France.
However, demanding Dutchman Van Gaal placed a great deal of trust in the Argentine arrival, after working closely with him during the pair’s time at Eredivisie outfit AZ Alkmaar.
Romero was surprisingly cast into proceedings during an opening day clash with Tottenham, keeping a clean sheet and going on to start all six of United’s games so far, including the successful Champions League play-offs against Club Brugge.
Having conceded just three so far in those six outings, keeping four successful shut outs in total, Romero is hoping his performances will be enough to retain the number one position in Van Gaal’s side.
“Playing for United is a dream and if God helps me this dream will never end,” said Romero. “As I have been saying, I have to thank Van Gaal for trusting me. Although I had not done a pre-season, I started playing for the biggest club in the world.
“It’s important for a goalkeeper to have this support because there is no rotation between goalkeepers – a goalkeeper starts or he is benched. They are the only two choices – there is not a third one.
“Let me tell you, I don’t think that the goalkeeper spot in United is already mine. I do know that I have a huge support from Van Gaal and his staff.”
Romero was heavily criticised for United’s first defeat of the season prior to the international break, when he failed to deal with Swansea City’s Bafetimbi Gomis, as the Frenchman fired home the winner.
Although, following the loss, Van Gaal was reluctant to blame Romero for the dropped points, and the Argentine shot-stopper could ultimately keep his place for United’s next clash against Liverpool, which they are 19/20 to win.
Previously left out by Van Gaal, De Gea will soon return to his current employers and is likely to be reinstated to the squad, but whether or not he will feature in the starting line-up again anytime soon is questionable.
The Spaniard recently helped his nation edge closer to Euro 2016 qualification, having dethroned new Porto stopper and Real legend Iker Casillas in goal, the man who he was previously outlined as the long-term replacement for at the Bernabeu.
Speaking ahead of his comeback to club duties, De Gea was tight-lipped on his future, as usual, having revealed very little during the entire summer transfer saga in which took centre stage.
“I felt good,” said De Gea after his first competitive game of the season against Macedonia. I really wanted to play. Now I need to keep working and see if I have some good fortune at my club as well.”
With Victor Valdes having also felt the full force of his manager’s possibly harsh treatment, it looks like being an interesting battle between De Gea and Romero for the number one spot, but things are always unpredictable with Van Gaal in charge.