With the world cup nearing an exciting finish, players are getting back to their regular schedule of club football and the clubs are doing everything possible to ensure that they build up a squad that can ensure they meet their goals for the upcoming season.
Manchester United took one step towards building a successful squad by announcing the singing of 25 Year old Mid-fielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and 19 Year old defender Diogo Dalot from FC Porto in Portugal and the 35 Year Old Goalkeeper Lee Grant from Stoke City for an Undisclosed fee (Reported to be £1.5 mn). To many, it came as a shock signing and the reason behind it wasn't clear.
Before joining United, Grant spent two years at Stoke City and was also their Player of the Year in 2016-17. He has proved his mettle while playing for clubs like Derby County, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday.
But the question still remains that why did united sign a 35 year old keeper when they already have De Gea as Number 1, Romero at Number 2 and young talents like Sam Johnstone and Joel Pereira in the ranks.
The answer to this cleared out sooner as Grant was expected to be United's third choice keeper behind De Gea and Romero as Sam Johnstone departed to West Brom for £6.5 million and Joel Pereira is set to go out on a loan deal for the 2018-2019 season. This leaves Grant as the vital third choice for United.
Romero injured his right knee during world cup preparations in training for Argentina and there is no specific return date for him. This leaves Mourinho with only De Gea and Pereira ( who might leave temporarily so as to get more game time and evolve), forcing him to look out for immediate replacements.
With the experience he has, Grant can act as the number two to De Gea and a potential starter in the EFL cup matches.
This move by United can be considered a very smart one provided Romero is not coming anytime soon at least in the early part of the season and Joel Pereira is still too young to be taking the responsibility from Romero and with the number of matches United is supposed to play in the coming season (Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and the EFL Cup) and also vying to win each of these tournaments, exertion will take its toll on all the players. It is, therefore, a necessary requirement to have someone like Grant in the ranks because of the depth he provides to the squad and also the experience he brings in commanding United's defense in whatever crucial matches he plays.
United are still in search for a few players in the transfer market and will continue to do so until the requirements for the squad are met. However, recruiting Lee grant might yield dividends right away when United tours the States for their warm-up tour as De Gea might return late after a holiday following Spain's early exit in the World Cup.Published 10 Jul 2018, 03:09 IST