If David de Gea is to leave Manchester United this summer, there will be long lists of potential replacements being drawn up by various media outlets. Easily United’s best player since Sir Alex Ferguson left, the possibility of him leaving for Real Madrid for much of those four seasons would have sent plenty of trepidation through the United faithful.
But, with rumours circulating that De Gea will finally be returning to his homeland during the transfer window intensifying, Jose Mourinho may have the man to replace him on his books already.
Sergio Romero has been one of the standouts of United’s run to the Europa League final, with his performances belying his lack of game time since arriving at Old Trafford. The Argentina No.1 has had to wait for his chance to make an impact at the Theatre of Dreams, but his display against Southampton suggested he could finally be set to make the step up next season.
Starting the night with a superb penalty save to deny Manolo Gabbiadini, the former Sampdoria shot-stopper barely put a foot wrong thereafter as he routinely denied the Saints forwards at the St Mary’s Stadium.
Though some United supporters would look for the money provided by the sale of De Gea to be reinvested in the same position, there is now a growing feeling that were Romero to take the ex-Atletico man’s place they would not be in that much of a desperate situation, particularly when you look at the goalkeeping worries some of their rivals have undergone this campaign.
De Gea may have even played his final game for United, with Mourinho suggesting earlier this week that Joel Pereira – who he described as “Portugal’s future No.1” - will make his debut before the season is out. That means he is likely to start against Crystal Palace in the final match of the Premier League season, with Romero then regaining his place in Stockholm against Ajax.
If that were to be the case, it would be a sad end to De Gea’s time with the club. There is no doubt he has become an outstanding performer since arriving in England and will be missed. But in Romero, the future of United’s last line of defence looks set to remain in safe hands.