De Gea’s Replacement at United

Football - Arsenal v Manchester United - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 14/15 - 22/11/14 Manchester United's David De Gea Mandatory Credit: Action Images / John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.

Football – Arsenal v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League – Emirates Stadium – 14/15 – 22/11/14
Manchester United’s David De Gea
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / John Sibley
EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

With David De Gea seemingly set for a move to Real Madrid, Manchester United must begin the search for a new goalkeeper.

United hoped De Gea would go on to emulate the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, given his emergence as one of the English Premier League’s top goalkeepers this season.

With the lure of going back home to Spain proving to be too powerful, here are three goalkeepers who could replace De Gea at United:

Petr Cech, Chelsea
At 33 years old, the Czech Republic star should still have his best years ahead of him. With Thibaut Courtois set to be the main goalkeeper at Chelsea in the years to come, Cech’s pain could possibly become United’s gain.

He has been given permission to talk to other clubs, and there are many clubs looking to speak with him about a potential move. Cech is a four-time EPL winner and would bring experience to the United dressing room. United should do whatever it can to sign him.

Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur
He’s in pole position to be the man to replace De Gea. It has been reported that United will make an official enquiry for him, and he’s keen on a move.

Lloris, a sweeper-keeper with great agility, is one of the better goalkeepers in the EPL. He’s a goalkeeper deserving of a UEFA Champions League stage, and United can now offer him that. He’s been one of Tottenham’s best performers this season, so it will take a sizable fee to pry him away from Spurs.

Tim Krul, Newcastle United
He has a strong relationship with United manager Louis van Gaal after their time together with the Holland national team at last summer’s World Cup.

Krul was the penalty shootout hero in the quarterfinal victory versus Costa Rica and there has been interest from United. Krul, 27, is ambitious and would jump at the chance to work with van Gaal again. His form has suffered slightly this season amid Newcastle’s struggle for survival, and a change of scenery could be needed for a goalkeeper who has look destined for the top.

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Norwich, Middlesbrough to Fight for Last EPL Spot

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The Championship playoff race is a highlight of any football season, which culminates in the richest game in football at Wembley Stadium.

Norwich City and Middlesbrough narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the English Premier League, so they had to bounce back quickly to reach the final.

Norwich saw off rival Ipswich Town, while Middlesbrough brushed aside Brentford, so the winner between Norwich and Middlesbrough will join Bournemouth and Watford in the EPL next season.

Here’s a closer look at both sides, which will face off on May 25:

Managers
Norwich: Alex Neil
Neil, 33, took over at Carrow Road in January after 18 impressive months at Hamilton in his native Scotland. Despite missing out on automatic promotion, the gamble by the Norwich board has paid off. Neil, who used to be a midfielder at Barnsley, won 49 of Norwich’s 86 points this season.

Middlesbrough: Aitor Karanka
He learned his trade as Jose Mourinho’s assistant manager at Real Madrid, where he won three UEFA Champions League titles as a defender. For Middlesbrough, defense is the main priority, but the players must also be composed in possession.

Players to watch
Norwich: Bradley Johnson
He showcased his qualities as a defensive midfielder during Norwich’s three-year stay in the EPL. He has added goals to his game by scoring 15 this season. He just turned 28 years old, and you get the sense that he’ll be playing in the EPL next season even if Norwich fails to win on Monday.

Middlesbrough: George Friend
It’s not often a left back is the team’s star player, but Friend’s fantastic season deserves praise. He’s a tenacious defender with a motor who can also make his presence felt in the attacking third.

What you need to know
Norwich
The club has a relatively settled back four and central midfield duo, but the club likes to mix it up in attack. Gary Hooper and Lewis Grabban are high quality strikers at this level, but Cameron Jerome’s ability to hold-up play allows Neil to play with three attacking midfield players.

Middlesbrough
The club conceded eight fewer goals than any other club in the regular season. This was down to an organized defense and the discipline of defensive midfielders Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton. The front four like to express themselves, and Patrick Bamford, who is one of several players on loan from Chelsea, is the team’s main goal-scoring threat.

Prediction
This is a difficult one to call. Norwich finished third in the Championship, while Middlesbrough finished one place behind. Teams can usually rely on defense in big games such as these, so that gives Middlesbrough the slightest of edges here. Middlesbrough 1, Norwich 0.

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