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.
Love how so many Utd fans don’t think Deano’s the type for a modern team but is seen as good enough for Ajax.— suwaid (@s_uwaid) December 7, 2021
Saw enough last season to think he should’ve been United number 1 this season.
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.
What about that middle ground of like "Deano most probably makes this team better because he's a better fit" but also "Deano probably isn't good enough to be United's #1"— Pauly Kwestel (@pkwestel) December 7, 2021
So if we take this as a basis... what would your plan be?
how much does Dean raise the ceiling?
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
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
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
I feel like Dean Henderson could be worth working with for at least a year
Like he’s definitely champions league level quality
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?
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
If Dean Henderson takes us from a Champions League quarterfinalist to a champions league semifinalist is that worth keeping two GKs?
If it was me, I’d look at Andre Onana right now
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”
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
They would be foolish to be looking for a GK right now
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.
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
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
Right but that’s clearly not gonna happen
Cause RR will clearly need a goalie who can sweep and stuff
If last week’s high line is something to go by
and RR had every reason to move to Dean on Sun and didn’t
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
No more Fred :-(
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
But if he can make it work
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
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
But how much better does he make us?
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
DDG’s expires next season?
Ohh wow so fast lol
I didn’t realize
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?
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
ok well now we’re at least establishing where the ceiling can be
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?
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
what a cop out!
Looool but I feel like I was done with DDG last year and really went into this season thinking Henderson would be number 1
I think we all did
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
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
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.
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
Yea lots to think about
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
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.