Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly targeting moves for both Asmir Begovic and Jose Reina in January as his patience with young Spaniard David de Gea appears to have been exhausted.
The 22-year-old stopper’s inability to command his own penalty box is said to be the cause of the Manchester United boss’ vexation, with his lightweight frame thought to be the burning issue.
De Gea has never claimed the number one jersey outright since his move from Atletico Madrid 18 months ago, where he’s been regularly rotated with Danish keeper Anders Lindegaard.
Axing de Gea seems a little harsh, especially if it’s on grounds of physicality. Sir Alex was well aware of his size when he splashed out an exorbitantly inflated sum of money to secure his services; how much bigger did he expect him to get?
Still, after seeing his side ship two more goals from crosses at West Ham in the FA Cup, the Scot’s famously short fuse appears to have expired as far as de Gea is concerned and he may now be ready to go back on his statement that the favourites for the Premier League crown will not be signing up any new talent in January.
A keeper confident at dealing with high balls who is also eligible to play in the Champions League fits the criteria and both Begovic and Reina have been sounded out.
Replacing de Gea with another Spanish international would be a safe move given that Reina has proved himself as one of the world’s best in between the sticks throughout his Liverpool career, but whether the Reds would be willing to flog one of their star men to their arch rivals without any real need to is unlikely.
Stoke might prove easier to broker a deal with given the lack of animosity between the two clubs. However, a bid for Bosnian net-minder Begovic would have to consist of eight figures.
He’s proved himself as one of the most adept goalkeepers in the top division this season, where he has kept more Premier League clean sheets than any other number one.
Unlike Reina, he lacks the experience of playing in Europe’s elite competition, which the Red Devils are priced at 12/1 to win.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date