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Pauly and Suwaid discuss the David De Gea and Dean Henderson Situation

A discussion on goalkeepers….

Manchester United FC Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA Europa League Final 2021 Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

One of the best things The Busby Babe has done recently was adding the uber talented Suwaid Fazal to our staff. I can’t tell you how many days I lose all track of time as I discuss United with Suwaid over slack. They’re always some of the most entertaining and knowledgeable conversations I have, I’m always learning something from Suwaid. As such I thought, why keep this all to myself? Why not share the wealth and let everyone see some of our discussions?

Tuesday morning Suwaid fired off a tweet about Dean Henderson.

I published my response, but figured instead of discussing this over twitter, I’ll just hit him up in slack. Then I figured I’d share what the two of us have to say.

I’ve edited it to try and make it read better but it’s slack and messages get fired back and forth quickly and I tried my best to keep the messages in the order that they appear in the chat. Hopefully you can follow along and enjoy.

So if we take this as a basis... what would your plan be?

how much does Dean raise the ceiling?

Suwaid Fazal 10:22 AM

This is actually where I’m at as well

So I sort of have Deano, Lindelof, Fred and Marcus as good enough for Utd but if you want an upgrade go ahead by all means.

I don’t know that’s maybe like tier 2 or something

Tier 1 would be Maguire Pogba Bruno Shaw etc

Pauly Kwestel 10:23 AM

I think if you look at it this way - David de Gea isn’t good enough to be the long term GK for Manchester United, therefore you need to get a new GK. Dean Henderson isn’t good enough to be the long term GK for Manchester United therefore if he was your #1 you’d need to get a new GK

Pauly Kwestel 10:23 AM

Then it becomes - you can’t sell David de Gea... his wages make it impossible

You can sell Dean Henderson and fetch a pretty penny for him which could go to a position in need

Suwaid Fazal 10:24 AM

I feel like Dean Henderson could be worth working with for at least a year

Like he’s definitely champions league level quality

Pauly Kwestel 10:24 AM

And then hopefully say “we still need to sign a new GK” - wouldn’t happen this year but mayye in two years? Maybe (hopefully) no more than three? So if that’s the case how much does Dean Henderson raise your ceiling? What do you think we can win with Henderson that we definitely won’t win with De Gea?

Suwaid Fazal 10:25 AM

Personally feel like DDG’s got to many other flaws and he was only ever good at shot-stopping


And yea there’s a lot of value in that

Pauly Kwestel 10:25 AM

If Dean Henderson takes us from a Champions League quarterfinalist to a champions league semifinalist is that worth keeping two GKs?

Suwaid Fazal 10:26 AM

If it was me, I’d look at Andre Onana right now

Pauly Kwestel 10:26 AM

or “hmm that’s not too big a jump, if we can cash in on him and use that money elsewhere, perhaps we can upgrade the squad enough to make that jump outside of this one position”

Suwaid Fazal 10:26 AM

But it doesn’t look like United are looking at a goalie and we can maybe look at the other positions before goalie


Like goalkeeper would be my final position of need

Pauly Kwestel 10:27 AM

They would be foolish to be looking for a GK right now

Suwaid Fazal 10:27 AM

And I still feel like we can work around Dean Henderson and be a v competitive team with him in it. I think there’s a lot to like about him.

Pauly Kwestel 10:27 AM

but the issue is going be forced by this summer...


Either new manager comes in and says Dean your my no. 1 no matter what even after De Gea has a good season or Dean is gonna want to leave

Suwaid Fazal 10:28 AM

That’s the issue and if it really comes down to it, I’d rather us work around Dean Henderson and we can asses him now

Pauly Kwestel 10:28 AM

Right but that’s clearly not gonna happen

Suwaid Fazal 10:28 AM

Cause RR will clearly need a goalie who can sweep and stuff


If last week’s high line is something to go by

Pauly Kwestel 10:29 AM

and RR had every reason to move to Dean on Sun and didn’t

Suwaid Fazal 10:29 AM

In his presser he’s suggested everyone gets a chance


Henderson will get one tomorrow


And I think there’s a chance he impresses him


So I’ll put it this way


RR’s a guy who


When he was the red Bull clubs


People were on their last contracts and stuff and he wanted to change that right


So he went with like a 23 and under policy


Now what does something similar look like at United

Pauly Kwestel 10:31 AM

No more Fred :-(

Suwaid Fazal 10:31 AM

Haha but no I think he’ll play players at their peak here


I’m guessing fixing the wage structure


But what he isn’t going to advocate is people asking for higher wages


And most of them will look at Ronaldo and De Gea


Now he knows Ronaldo isn’t going to be here for long and that he’s an exception


But De Gea?


And I feel like that play into it


Like DDG’s future


It’s up to Henderson now


If he doesn’t make it work


That’s that


But if he can make it work

Pauly Kwestel 10:35 AM

Right so back to the original question


If we say Henderson makes United better BUT Henderson ultimately isn’t good enough to be the United #1 - what is the best long term move for the club?


Even if he makes you better - if he’s not *good enough* then he’s going to be making mistakes that cost you games/points

Suwaid Fazal 10:37 AM

I used to have this opinion. I told the same to Brent but he grew on me last season. There’s a proactivity in what he does that I really liked.


And I felt like he’s maybe good enough


Like I could trust him like I do a Fred and Lindelof


Now I’m also looking at keepers who could come in


And I can’t think of many other than Onana

Pauly Kwestel 10:39 AM

But how much better does he make us?

Pauly Kwestel 10:39 AM

Does how much better on the pitch outweigh that he’s our most sellable asset that we could use elsewhere in the squad?


Factoring in that DDG’s contract expires next season

Suwaid Fazal 10:40 AM

DDG’s expires next season?

Pauly Kwestel 10:40 AM


Suwaid Fazal 10:40 AM

Ohh wow so fast lol


I didn’t realize

Pauly Kwestel 10:41 AM

Yea - so if you swap Henderson for another player somewhere else in the squad - and then you know after 2023 you can get out from the DDG contract and get a GK... then that probably is where he’s most valuable to the squad?

Suwaid Fazal 10:42 AM

Hmm okay you’ve got a point but I do kind of rate him as good enough for a title challenging team. I might have to look at other goalkeepers in the market


We need to have a target in mind and I can’t think of too many that stick out in the Prem. Maybe the Brighton and Brentford goalkeepers as far as ball playing ability goes


Actually the Brentford guy looks really good but he’s injured atm

Pauly Kwestel 10:45 AM

ok well now we’re at least establishing where the ceiling can be

Suwaid Fazal 10:46 AM


Pauly Kwestel 10:46 AM

But whether or not Henderson can be the GK for a title challenger (and I think he can) the question is:

What is the ceiling for this current United team with DDG in goal?

and What is the ceiling for this current United team if Dean Henderson was in goal?

Suwaid Fazal 10:47 AM

I think we’ll learn it soon cause if we see performances like the one against Palace where we don’t face too many shots etc


Like is the whole DDG needs to be facing a lot of shots theory


And other stuff will be revealed

Pauly Kwestel 10:49 AM

what a cop out!

Suwaid Fazal 10:49 AM

Looool but I feel like I was done with DDG last year and really went into this season thinking Henderson would be number 1

Pauly Kwestel 10:50 AM

I think we all did

Suwaid Fazal 10:50 AM

And now we just don’t know anymore


Like the sample size could’ve been longer


And that’s just not there now


But the Spurs and City games stuck out to me. Liverpool wasn’t great but I’d bought into Henderson by then. (edited)


And felt like the ceiling would be higher cause of the Spurs game. He was coming off his line etc

Pauly Kwestel 10:54 AM

But there’s still question marks.


So you’re in charge of the team. What do you do?

We all know it makes no sense to carry two goalkeepers of this caliber

De Gea is playing very well right now especially in the eyes of the media and most fans who value shot stopping above many other things. Dropping him would be a story

Suwaid Fazal 10:56 AM

It would


That’s why the next couple of games feel important


Like if DDG picks up new tricks


I’ll be like wow I got that wrong


Cause we’re likely to play a lot of offsides traps


And he isn’t going to be as busy


And there are a lot of games. Hopefully have an idea by then.

Pauly Kwestel 11:01 AM

He’s also on £390k/wk so selling him would be impossible but his contract expires in a year and a half

You’ve got questions over whether Dean ultimately is good enough. You can sell him now for over £40m

Is that the move?

If you go to Dean, you’re keeping de Gea on the bench because you won’t be able to sell him. Is that the move? What if you find out that Dean is the better fit but still isn’t good enough? He’ll be 25 at the end of the season, 26 if you keep him another year. Now you need a new GK but also didn’t get that influx of cash that you could have gotten to invest somewhere else in the squad?

There’s a lot of “believe” here but is there enough “know” to make holding onto him worthwhile? If David de Gea was going to drag us down from being a Champions League then the decision is easy but I don’t think he’s going to do that

Suwaid Fazal 11:01 AM

Yea lots to think about

Pauly Kwestel 11:02 AM

I think you’re sitting on two guys who both provide you with big questions of “are they actually the guy?” and if that’s the case... probably better to cash in on the one you can cash in on

Suwaid Fazal 11:02 AM



We’ve probably got a few people to cash in on

I’ll leave it here. To sum it up, I’m of the opinion that Henderson is a more modern goalkeeper and therefore a better fit for United right now. Having said that, he didn’t show enough last season to suggest he’s good enough to be the long term guy for United. De Gea played much higher up the pitch against Crystal Palace - albeit that’s only one game - but if he retains his form, given that his contract is immovable and Henderson has suitors, it’s probably the best that club sell Henderson and use that money to re-invest in other areas of the squad. Then next season you start looking for another goalkeeper to replace de Gea.

The main point here is, there’s really no guarantee that Henderson takes us to the next level. So rather than risking him not doing that cash in and invest that money somewhere in the squad (cough cough midfield). The worst thing that can happen is United do nothing, eventually Henderson takes over as the number 1, but doesn’t prove to be any better than de Gea and it remains a position that is still upgradable, only now you never ended up bringing in money from his sale.

Suwaid is a little more hesitant and would like to see more of Dean.