Man Utd need an Alisson: Four options to replace De Gea

Sam McGuire
Sam McGuire
  • Updated: 9 Mar 2023 09:24 GMT
  • 5 min read
David de Gea, Man Utd, 2022/23

Manchester United have never been shy about spending money.

Their starting XI in the 7-0 loss to Liverpool included Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Antony, players signed during the summer transfer window for a combined €220 million.

It also contained Fred and Bruno Fernandes, two players signed for over €110m while Harry Maguire (€87m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (€55m) and Jadon Sancho (€85m) were part of the matchday squad.

MORE: Man Utd put brutal clause in new De Gea contract

The point is the Red Devils have added defenders, midfielders and attackers over recent seasons. Maybe it is about time they address the goalkeeper situation.

David de Gea has to be up there with one of the club’s best-ever signings. United paid a then British record €25m in 2011 to sign the Atletico Madrid youngster and he has, at times, singlehandedly kept them in Champions League contention during what has been a difficult decade for United.

Now 32, De Gea’s current deal expires at the end of the season and various outlets claim the Spanish shot-stopper will have to accept reduced terms if he is to extend his Old Trafford stay. However, this could be the ideal time for Erik ten Hag to part ways with his No.1 and bring in someone a little better suited to his style.

MORE: Man Utd scout shock De Gea successor

David de Gea is fighting to win Erik ten Hag over

David de Gea is fighting to win Erik ten Hag over

By no means was the 45-cap international at fault for any of the seven goals conceded against Liverpool, though perhaps he could’ve done a little better on the seventh, last weekend. Indeed, his exploits between the sticks are one of the reasons the Red Devils find themselves in third position.

Unfortunately for him, though, goalkeeping these days is about so much more than just making saves. They have to be able to sweep and be as good as outfielders with the ball at their feet. De Gea likes his six-yard box and isn’t the most confident when looking to pass the ball out.

Can you imagine De Gea playing a pass similar to Alisson’s in the build-up to Liverpool’s opener at Anfield? The Brazilian picked out Andrew Robertson, bypassing the United press in central areas and second later the Reds found themselves 1-0 up.

If we’re being honest, Ten Hag-ball does require a competent ball-playing goalkeeper. With an aggressive No.1 between the sticks, the press can be even higher allowing you to dominate more of the pitch.

So, using the SciSports scouting tool, we’ve come up with a list of potential candidates to replace De Gea at Old Trafford this summer. One of the key boxes to tick was for them to fall into the ball-playing category. Those unrealistic names were excluded from the conversation and we narrowed it down to four.

Who should be Man Utd's next goalkeeper?

The first name is Mike Maignan. He signed for AC Milan to replace Gigi Donnarumma and won the Serie A title in his first season with the club. The 27-year-old has been out of action since September due to a calf issue and his absence has been felt with Milan struggling this term.

According to our Expected Transfer Value (xTV) model, the Frenchman could go for anything between €31m and €51m. Milan do need to sell in order to invest so they could be tempted to cash in on him.

Next up, we have Unai Simon of Athletic Club. The 25-year-old displaced De Gea as Spain’s starting goalkeeper and could well do the same for Manchester United. The 25-year-old is contracted to the Basque club until 2025 and there is reportedly no clause in his deal. He has been likened to Alisson and does seem suited to the rigours of the Premier League. Simon has an xTV of €48m, a drop in the ocean for a team like United.

The Red Devils may prefer to shop elsewhere in the Basque region with Real Sociedad shot-stopper Alex Remiro showing up favourably in this search. The 27-year-old has a contract with the club until 2027 and his xTV has him in the region of €43m.

Transfer Values Explanation

Expected Transfer Value (xTV) explained

Our Machine Learning model calculates an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) for more than 240.000 players in the world.

Read more here.

Our Machine Learning model calculates an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) for more than 240.000 players in the world. It uses information on the player's skill, potential, performance, contract duration, position and other statistics to estimate an accurate xTV.

Read more here.

Another who is ranked similar to Alisson and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Remiro would be a better fit for United than the current incumbent.

Ten Hag and the recruitment team may favour a Premier League goalkeeper and if they do, Robert Sanchez will surely be on their list. He is on ours. Having replaced Mat Ryan between the sticks for Brighton under Graham Potter due to his on-ball ability, the 25-year-old has been one of the surprises of the Premier League over recent years.

Roberto De Zerbi benched Sanchez for the win over West Ham, instead opting to start Jason Steele. Maybe all isn’t well there now, leaving the door ajar for a United move in the summer. The 6ft6 goalkeeper would be a commanding presence at the back for the Red Devils.