A disappointed Sergio Romero is being forced out of Manchester United, according to reports.
Whilst everyone’s attention has been on new signing Donny van de Beek this week, the more saddening story has slipped by almost unnoticed in the press.
The 33-year-old has been at Old Trafford for five years, in which time he has kept a fantastic 39 clean sheets in 61 games and has earned the reputation of the Premier League’s best backup keeper – a role he has always accepted with patience and dignity, having been brought into the club as David de Gea‘s replacement when he looked set to join Real Madrid.
And while he, like everyone else, might understand the decision to keep the exciting Dean Henderson at Old Trafford next season to go head-to-head with De Gea for the number one spot, it is the way the matter has been handled that has left Romero feeling disgruntled.
As The Athletic points out, ‘the die was cast on his future when Solskjaer selected De Gea to face Chelsea at Wembley [in the FA Cup semi-final] and then for the Europa League semi-final against Sevilla a month later.
‘Solskjaer spoke to Romero before that second encounter to explain his decision, but it was a call that caused major disappointment for a player who had played nine games in Europe that season, conceding only two goals.
To make matters worse, Romero was not informed of the club’s decision to keep Henderson, which sources told The Athletic felt disrespectful.
‘Romero also deserved the “respect” of being told directly by staff at United that his circumstances would be changing once Henderson had agreed his long-term deal.
‘However, this has not happened and instead of prolonging his stay at Old Trafford, work is being done on an exit.’
There is no clear front runner for Romero’s signature. Aston Villa have been linked but this has generally revolved around a part-exchange deal for Jack Grealish, a deal that looks increasingly unlikely now after Van de Beek’s arrival.
The Athletic believes that Chelsea could be an option. ‘Some believe Romero could push £71.6 million Kepa Arrizabalaga for a starting place. But it is believed Chelsea want to go down the route of a “younger model”,’ the outlet claims.
Another possibility is Leeds United, managed by Romero’s countryman, Marcelo Bielsa. Kiko Casilla looks set to move on, having fallen out of favour after being found guilty of making racist remarks.
Leeds’ current number one Illan Meslier is very young and untried at the top level. However, Romero would not come cheap; the Red Devils are reportedly asking for £8 – £10 million for the stopper and his wages are currently £100,000 per week.
The departure would be a sad one but could have a silver lining for the Argentinian, who with regular football could regain his position as Argentina’s number one for potentially one more roll of the World Cup dice in Qatar in 2022.