5 potential replacements for David de Gea at Manchester United
There are dark clouds all over Old Trafford at the moment. After the weekend's terrible 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, Manchester United are now 14 points behind local rivals, Manchester City.
All season, the displays by the Red Devils have been the object of constant analysis and a source of banter for opposition fans. Jose Mourinho's tactics (or lack of it), comments in interviews and eccentric displays dominate discussions more than the actual football.
To make things worse, a lot of the team's star performers are making noises about not staying beyond their current contracts. Anthony Martial is yet to agree to a new deal, Paul Pogba is making noises about an exit.
However, the most damaging could be David de Gea. The Spaniard has been the best player in the post-Alex Ferguson era. His displays have been a reason why Manchester United have not been as bad as they could have been.
De Gea looks to be fed up of the club's stagnation and has reportedly refused to sign a new deal with his current one expiring at the end of the season. Though the Red Devils have the option to trigger an automatic one-year renewal, such uncertainty does not bode well for the club's future.
Mourinho (if he stays on) and the United hierarchy will need to either convince De Gea to stay or begin to plan for his departure.
With that in mind, here is a look at 5 possible replacements:
#5 Alban Lafont (AC Fiorentina)
One of the hottest young goalkeeping talents in world football, Lafont has been a name on everybody's lips for a while now.
The 1.93 m giant became Toulouse's first choice goalie in 2015 aged just 16 which was a French Ligue 1 record. His displays for Les Violets (The Violets) led to increased scrutiny and he was linked to a lot of Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
It was felt that the 19-year-old was ready for a move to a big club. However, he surprised everyone by agreeing to a €8.5m move to Serie A side Fiorentina. Competing against another excellent young goalie in Bartlomiej Dragowski, the French youngster has shown his quality.
He has been one of the league's best goalies and would make a good replacement if de Gea leave Old Trafford. Like De Gea, Lafont is very agile and capable of making great saves. He is also very confident in possession and will keep getting better in his decision making as he grows older.
It is unclear how much he will cost were United to make a move for him but given his potential, it will not be cheap.