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David de Gea has shown Manchester United a new transfer priority for the summer – Jack Flintham


It has been said time and time again this season that Manchester United’s defence is the true weak spot of a thoroughly underwhelming side.

David de Gea’s post-match dissections of the state of the United squad have become almost a monthly occurrence, but at this stage who can blame him? Week in, week out, De Gea has seen his back four crumble in front of him and last Saturday at Everton was no different.

As Anthony Gordon unleashed his strike towards the Spaniard’s net only Bruno Fernandes seemed to be alert to any hint of danger, startling though that might be, as the shot went past De Gea. The 31-year-old’s frustrated reaction said it all on the pitch even before he spoke to the press.

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He told BT Sport: “They played Wednesday and they were tired but they had more desire than us, that is not acceptable. Very sad to lose. It is a disgrace from us. We should be winning this game.”

In recent research by BetVictor, De Gea ranked second for the least amount of goals conceded compared to what the statistics suggest. It reflects well on De Gea, but for the United defence it should be a source of embarrassment and shame.

United were expected to concede 49 goals so far this season, according to data metrics. To put that into perspective, this weekend’s opponents Norwich City were expected to concede around 43 goals and they sit bottom of the Premier League.

The frequency by which De Gea’s goal is peppered by opposition forwards is alarming and unacceptable. It is a miracle that more goals haven’t gone in. And without seriously addressing the issues directly in front of De Gea these stats are bound to become worse with every passing season.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof’s inability to read the danger on Saturday when the ball was laid back to Gordon on the edge of the box was incomprehensible. The deflection off Maguire was unfortunate but would have certainly been more palatable had he made a concerted effort to stop the shot.

Both men looked to be stuck motionless, perhaps the perfect metaphor to sum up the current nightmare Groundhog Day that United supporters are seemingly having to endure on a weekly basis. For fans there is some comfort to be had when Raphael Varane is in the side.

With Varane alongside Maguire in the Premier League, United have only lost once, showing that a capable centre back alongside the former Leicester City man could be the key to getting the best out of the current captain. This does also point to the fact that the club need to invest in more ‘Varane-esque’ defenders.

It is clear as day that the lack of composure in defence when Varane is missing is hindering United. Maguire is currently unable to fill those boots when the Frenchman is gone, so investment in the defence should be a priority.

United do need a defensive midfielder and their decision to go all out to sign one is fine, but a Kalvin Phillips alone will not be able to resurrect this team. If United want to challenge again they must take the opportunity to listen to the stats and upgrade their defence or potentially face a worse fate in the future.



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