Monday, June 19, 2023

Manchester United’s De Gea Among Players On Club Release Lists

At the end of each season, Premier League clubs submit their list of players being retained and those technically being released with the imminent expiration of their contracts. Some noteworthy names and stories are included in this year’s lists.

A prominent name among those released is this year’s Premier League Golden Glove Winner, David De Gea. The Manchester United goalkeeper notched 17 clean sheets to lead the league this season and capture his second Golden Glove. The Spanish keeper also surpassed club legend Peter Schmeichel this year for the most career clean sheets for the Red Devils. And yet De Gea is a poor fit for Manager Eric ten Hag’s system. The goalkeeper’s contract is up this month, and the club does not seem overly concerned. Like many Premier League managers, ten Hag prefers his goalkeeper to be adept with the ball at his feet and to trigger the attack for his club. De Gea is an exceptional shot blocker with rare agility and reflexes despite occasional gaffes in recent seasons. He is not comfortable, however, with the ball at his feet and his distribution is poor. The Red Devils have reportedly offered De Gea a contract at reduced wages as they search for a new number one goalkeeper. Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Brentford’s David Raya are just two of the names already linked with Manchester United in this summer’s transfer rumors. Should De Gea not be resigned in some capacity, he leaves the club as one of only 11 players to have played more than 500 matches for the storied club.

Champions Manchester City could also be saying goodbye to a club stalwart. Ilkay Gundogan, whose two goals delivered the recent 2-1 FA Cup win over rival Manchester United, also has a contract expiring this month. The Manchester City captain is wanted back by the Citizens but the German international is also a rumored target of Barcelona and potentially Premier League rival Arsenal. The midfielder just completed his seventh season for Manchester City and has been a double-digit goal scorer each of the last three years.

A series of head scratching career decisions finds another midfielder with Manchester connections on the released list. Jesse Lingard is back in the market for a new team after being released by Nottingham Forest. The long time Manchester United property had a highly successful loan spell at West Ham a few years ago but made a poor decision to go back to Manchester and fight for a spot. Failing in that fight, Lingard hit the market last season and, somewhat surprisingly, chose Nottingham Forest where he had a hard time finding minutes, never scored a league goal, and is now released. An interesting rumor has Lingard headed to MLS for a reunion with DC United manager, and former Lingard teammate at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney.

Liverpool’s release list contains several familiar names. It’s been long known that Bobby Firmino and James Milner, both revered contributors during the Klopp era, were completing their final seasons for the club. There is speculation that several Serie A clubs could have interest in Firmino while Milner looks to be staying in the Premier League with Brighton.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unfortunately experienced the same frustrating injury susceptibility with Liverpool as he did at Arsenal and leaves after an unfulfilling six-year stint with the Reds. Oxlade-Chamberlain supposedly has his eye on continuing in the Premier league with Aston Villa but it’s unconfirmed if the interest is mutual.

Another Liverpool midfielder who failed to live up to expectations is the now released Naby Keita. Signed from RB Leipzig in July 2018, Kaita’s time at Anfield was marked by poor performances and frequent injuries. The midfielder is set to return to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.

A released player who will leave fans with better memories is Tottenham Hotspur’s Lucas Moura. Spurs fans will always have a soft spot for the Brazilian forward who put Tottenham Hotspur into the Champions League final with a second half hat trick which defeated Ajax in the 2019 semifinal. Newcastle has been rumored to be a possible destination for the 30-year-old Moura.

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