Last week agent Francois Gallardo caused something of a storm by suggesting that Real Madrid are on the trail of Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Speaking on the Spanish TV show ‘El Chiringuito de Jugones’ Gallardo suggested:
“They are following Begovic, who is very good and playing in England. They are already negotiating with his representatives and his club.”
In the eyes of the Daily Express this has now handed Manchester United a “huge boost”, with the paper’s Ben Jefferson interpreting Real’s supposed interest in the Bosnian as signalling an end to their rumoured desire to sign David de Gea.
Red Devils gloveman De Gea has been sensational for Louis van Gaal this term, making the PFA Player of the Year shortlist in the process.
Has Begovic’s form really been sufficiently stellar to cast him as a viable alternative to the Spaniard in the eyes of the European champions?
Of the five key goalkeeping statistics above De Gea is superior to his supposed rival for Real’s affections on three and equally proficient on one.
His Potteries-based counterpart has been more forthcoming when dealing with deliveries into his penalty area, also making 0.30 punches per-90-minutes to the 24-year-old’s 0.18.
Importantly, when a transfer to one of the world’s elite clubs is being mooted, Begovic’s distribution accuracy is exactly on par with the Man Utd man.
However, De Gea’s clean sheets, saves and saves-per-goal-conceded numbers show him to have been marginally superior to the Bosnian in 2014/15 league action.
It can be pointed out that the gloveman of a top-three side with the division’s third-best defence and best home record should have more shutouts than his opposite number at mid-table Stoke.
However, that this is down to their relative performances, as much as the qualities of their respective teammates, is indicated by the United man’s strength on the other two measures.
Not only does De Gea make more saves per 90 minutes than Begovic, but he makes almost an entire stop more than the Potters man for every goal he concedes.