Monday, 3 August 2015

Romero: not exactly the king of 'distribution'

With De Gea starting the Red Devils' pre-season games in America, the recent intake of players has included Argentina's first choice Sergio Romero. The goalkeeper best known for playing a couple of club games (his club football is nowhere near a good record as his international one) and then going to a World Cup final, is now added to the Mancunians' roster going into the 2015 season.With the breakup between Valdes and Van Gaal doing the gossip circuit and De Gea still been linked with Real Madrid with Casillas now with Porto, it seems the Dutch manager is looking to add to his dressing room, with depth in between the posts.

Romero over Valdes, honestly?!
Personally, I think the choice of Romero over Valdes is a silly one. You can patch up things normally between coach and player unless something horrendous has gone wrong (an apology outside the media eye normally does wonders), and if Valdes was spun his joining with phrases like "you'll have a shot at the first team", "we'll give you the chance" etc. etc. yadda yadda, then it's no surprise he'd be a little peeved if he didn't get any games in. He only played a few reserve games before being put on the bench, and with no solid back-up options there already, am a little confused about that moot point.

Going by the comments and sound bites coming from United goalkeeping staff, Romero is apparently a great fit because of his confidence, ability, and his great distribution:

I'm honestly not sure how they came to that conclusion, and I can't say that his kicking ability is anywhere near that of Valdes'. Rolling the ball out to a defender to kick long is nothing like punting the ball to a forward pushing into the last quarter of the pitch to create a scoring chance, or even Neuer's infamous long throws! If they insist on highlighting the need for a distributional goalkeeper, why keep looking for available goalkeepers that aren't talented in this skillset!!

No Ter Stegen
Ironically Ter Stegen is the most suited to playing in the mould that Van Gaal is looking for: great at shot stopping, with amazing passing ability to almost pinpoint perfection (and still improving! Imagine what he'll play like in five/ten years time), which is needed for Van Gaal's famous Ajax system of high press, ball retention and cycling that sees the ball transfer front to back and round again to open up lanes to attack through, which requires a goalkeeper that plays 'like an outfield player with gloves on'. Man United have missed a beat and shot themselves in the foot effectively by letting go of a player who is known for this, with the record to back it up. And Romero can't solve these issues...

No Friedel deal
Valdes could have been a steal if Van Gaal had played him right and swapped out his backline for more attacking defenders. Friedel arrived on a free and was major reason for Tottenham's success during his 'Indian summer' in his goalkeeping ability as he stole the show before Lloris was factored into their plans. Valdes arrived on a free and I personally think he is the only goalkeeper that fits Van Gaal's system.

And if Van Gaal really wants to continue a system and pick the players for it (like Wenger or Mourinho), than the other way round of players that make up a system by their mixing playing styles, why continue to play a goalkeeper that is amazing at save making behind a straight four-four-two style system and four man backline that stays together in the old offside trap set-up, when you are making the switch to an adaptive line?

Back-up rather than 1A
Ultimately, he's more likely to be a bench warming back-up goalkeeper to provide support and mentoring for De Gea (IF he stays). A 1A - 1B system is where the second choice can easily step into the other's shoes (like the Sorensen/Begovic relationship); this I can't see happening here. I can understand and see the link with Van Gaal and him having coached him when he played for Alkmaar, sorts the problem of Valdes' refusing to play reserve games - with a working relationship between the two, you'd think there'd be less of an issue! But that amount of money for a back-up, and one that doesn't play the ball well, why continue to keep this up?

A goalkeeper that United should be looking at more is that of Vorm, whose stats of completed long passes were some of the best in the league whilst at Swansea and . Romero doesn't really solve the problem of , and if De Gea does go, he is there purely as an insurance policy, so that the second choice is sorted before they look for De Gea's replacement. They can avoid further dressing room fallout with , and .

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