Why Manchester United should go for Odisseas Vlachodimos in January
According to a report from the Sun, Manchester United are have ‘ramped up’ their scouting of goalkeepers across Europe as fears David de Gea will not sign a new contract at Old Trafford increase by the day.
De Gea, 28, has been in talks with Manchester United for several months over a new deal worth around £350,000 a week, but progress appears to have stalled between club and player, whose contract runs out at the end of this season.
The Spaniard has delayed putting pen to paper as he waits to see what the situation is in January before making a decision. But the report claims despite the Red Devils are desperate to keep him, he could be sold in the January transfer window to avoid missing him out on a free transfer next year.
Manchester United have improved their squad over the summer, and one area they could be forced to strengthen, if De Gea leaves, is the goalkeeping position.
De Gea is one of the world’s best goalkeepers; however, his form hasn’t been great for the club as well as his country following last summer’s World Cup. Yet, it’ll be difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replace his star man between the sticks.
Last year, a report from the Sun had claimed that United were among a series of clubs monitoring Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos. The January transfer window would be the right time for the Red Devils to sign the Benfica goalkeeper as a potential replacement for De Gea.
Odisseas Vlachodimos, 24, only joined Benfica from Panathinaikos last summer, impressing with his shot-stopping ability and helping the club win the Liga NOS title.
He also was in goal when Benfica thumped Sporting Lisbon last month in the Supertaca Candido de Oliveira, and interestingly, the 24-year-old is yet to concede a goal in the league this season.
The four-cap Greek international has shown that he isn’t just a quality shot-stopper, but is a good distributor of the ball as well, something that he focused on a lot in recent times.
His shot-stopping ability earned him a lot of plaudits last season and has hit the ground running in the new season by not conceding a single goal so far.
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Vlachodimos’s authority in the box, distribution skills and reflexes could make him a good long-term replacement for De Gea.
At 24, the Greek still has his peak years ahead of him, and if United can get Vlachodimos for a decent fee, he might eventually become a bargain signing.