Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has reportedly asked for negotiations with Real Madrid over David de Gea to be ‘unlocked’ in order to clinch a swift deal for his successor.
The Independent suggest that the man expected to slip into the Spaniard’s Old Trafford gloves is Ajax’s Dutch international Jasper Cillessen.
Cillessen is 57/100 to be a United player by the end of the transfer window, while it’s 5/4 that he is still with de Godenzonen on September 4th.
The 26-year-old is most widely known for being subbed off for Tim Krul by Van Gaal in penalty shoot-outs at the 2014 World Cup due to a perceived deficiency in spot kick situations.
Yet, the 6’2” stopper’s superb reflexes, agility and outstanding ability in one-on-one situations have all been notable across recent campaigns.
There’s just one problem…
Saves per goal conceded is arguably the benchmark, widely-available metric of goalkeepers’ relative abilities.
Domestically Cillessen measures up well, with his 2.52 stops per Eredivisie concession standing up to those of Fraser Forster (2.86) and Joe Hart (2.38) in the Premier League last term and exceeding that of Thibaut Courtois (2.10).
However, the strength of the Eredivisie, currently Europe’s tenth-best top flight on the UEFA club coefficient below the likes of Ukraine and Belgium, seriously tempers any enthusiasm.
The Ajax gloveman’s saves per goal ratio in the Champions League should be more indicative as to whether or not he has the capabilities to truly replace De Gea.
Unfortunately last term he repelled a distinctly modest 0.9 efforts on target for every opposition strike in the tournament.
Courtois averaged four, while Hart managed 2.73.
In Forster’s last season (2013/14) in Europe’s top club competition for Celtic, hailing from a lowlier league than Cillessen’s Ajax, his mean was 1.46.
The England international also averaged 3.17 saves per Champions League outing that season compared to the Dutchman’s 1.5.
Van Gaal may believe Cillessen has the potential to be a capable replacement for De Gea, however he has yet to prove it at the highest level.