Another World Class Goalie on a Free
Sergio Romero is Manchester United’s latest signing. He has been Argentina’s, on and off, first choice keeper since 2009. The Argentinean took his country to the most recent World Cup final and Copa America final, only to lose both after regular time.
Along with Victor Valdes, Romero is the second big name goalkeeper that Van Gaal has brought to Old Trafford from the free agency. But how did United get this one for free?
World Cup Finalist but not First Choice
One would assume that he was at a very strong club with a fellow top class goalkeeper in their ranks to keeps Romero out. Sampdoria is a mid-level Serie A team whose first choice keeper has 5 international caps at the age of 29.
After returning from Brazil as a World Cup finalist, Romero found that he was out of favour at his domestic club, Sampdoria. Sergio had spent the previous season on loan at AS Monaco as second choice to Subasic; but still managed to put on a stellar performance for Argentina in the World Cup.
He found himself second string to Emiliano Viviano, a 29 year old Italian who, the season before, was one of Arsenal’s spare keepers. But Romero couldn’t break past him. He got his first game of last season against Cagliari Calcio when Viviano had to go off injured. Romero spent a further 9 games in goal, only keeping 1 clean sheet. Once Viviano was had fully recovered he replaced the Argentinean number one.
The last time Romero played a season as first choice was back in 2012/13 where he kept 10 clean sheets in 33 games and conceded 40 goals. United must have signed the Argentinean based purely on his international record, or did Van Gaal have some specialist knowledge on him.
Brought to Europe by King Louis
In 2007, Romero was a 19 and playing for Racing Club in Argentina when Van Gaal signed him to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands. His second season showed his ability. Sergio kept 18 league clean sheets, 10 of which were consecutive. However he did fracture his hand in fury following a mistake he made in the cup. This error led to defeat for Alkmaar and resulted in them being knocked out of the tournament.
Now the Dutch manager has brought him to United. The belief is that Romero has been signed in preparation for the impending departure of David De Gea. Based on domestic record, there is no comparison between the two players, but Romero does have the edge when it comes to international performance, mainly because De Gea hasn’t had much of a shot so far in his still very young career.
Can Romero Fill the De Gea Void?
Van Gaal has hopefully acquired a more experienced and more professional version of the keeper that he signed to AZ Alkmaar. Hopefully Romero will get a run out in United’s next friendly, against PSG, so that the fans can get a little preview of which Romero is now a Red Devil. Is it the Argentina first choice version or the Sampdoria second? If Sergio Romero can bounce back from his poor previous season than he should be able to do well in the place of De Gea, should the Spaniard leave. He won’t be able to replace him, but should do a good enough job to keep United moving up.