Would Jan Oblak be a sensible signing for Man Utd?

Paul Macdonald
Would Jan Oblak be a sensible signing for Man Utd?

David De Gea’s decade-long love affair with Manchester United appears to have gone stale. After joining from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011 and, but for a faulty fax machine, all but moving to Real Madrid four years later, the Spaniard has always been a wanted man at Old Trafford. 

Despite a post-Sir Alex Ferguson decline, which they are still very much recovering from, De Gea remained the one consistently world class performer in the team and was rewarded by winning the club’s Player of the Year three seasons running. But since the World Cup in 2018, his form has been shaky at best.

After a disappointing summer in Russia, his reputation in Spain plummeted and remains tarnished. Gradually, mistakes crept back into De Gea’s game at United and, while still very much a very able goalkeeper, there have been questions as to whether he needs a new challenge.

This season, an underlying narrative has been whether De Gea will lose his number one shirt to Dean Henderson, after he spent two years on loan Sheffield United. While that hasn’t yet happened, there is speculation, via Sky Sports, that Solskjaer is keeping tabs on Atletico’s Jan Oblak.

Will United change between the sticks?

While there is merit to the argument that perhaps De Gea and United could both benefit from going their separate ways, this one does seem very unlikely. The club has still been able to acquire big name players without Champions League football, so theoretically, the fact they look like qualifying fairly easily should strengthen their hand this summer.

But Oblak has established himself as the world’s number one ‘keeper lately in the eyes of many, arguably replacing De Gea. Atleti are enjoying their best season in years, too, and look set to win La Liga for the first time since 2014.

More relevant could be Solskjaer’s true stance on the goalkeeping situation. There has been little in the way of speculation that he wants a change there, with a right-winger and centre backs supposedly higher up on his priority list.

United spent last summer chasing Jadon Sancho and could well look at him once again, while Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is a defender who has been heavily linked. Perhaps they have had a change of heart with both De Gea and Henderson, but this one feels like it won’t get off the ground at this stage.