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Manchester United Reportedly 'Seriously Considering' €120M Jan Oblak Move

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Jan Oblak of Atletico de Madrid looks on prior to the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at Wanda Metropolitano on April 24, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly giving serious consideration to activating Jan Oblak's €120 million (£103.5 million) buyout clause this summer.

According to ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan, sources have indicated as much amid David De Gea's drop in form, despite Oblak penning a new contract earlier in April.

The deal extended his stay with Atletico Madrid until 2023 and increased his clause from €100 million (£86.3 million).

De Gea has long been United's best player, as reflected in the fact he's been named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year in four of his seven full seasons at the club.

However, he has been culpable for a number of goals in recent months, most recently in United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.

The Spaniard could only parry a long shot from Antonio Rudiger straight into the path of Marcos Alonso, and his compatriot made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

Football writer Tom McDermott observed his struggles:

Tom McDermott @MrTomMcDermott

The mistake v #CFC was up there with his worst for me because he got a good look at the ball, it didn’t move a great deal, was a reasonable height and he could have pushed it wide and away from danger instead of trying to catch it. #DeGea #MUFC

After the match, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played down concerns about the goalkeeper:

Goal @goal

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has no concerns about David de Gea. 😮 Do you feel the same United fans? 😬 https://t.co/VAI5zHQYPT

De Gea's performances for the Spain national team last year were sometimes below par, too, so Solskjaer perhaps should be a little worried about his No. 1.

Given United are unconvincing in defence, De Gea's errors are especially costly because they rely on him a great deal to bail them out.

Oblak is one of the only goalkeepers in the world who could be considered an upgrade, though. The 26-year-old joined Atletico in 2014 and has since established himself as arguably the best in the world in his position.

Top-class saves from him are a frequent sight in La Liga:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

An Oblak left-right combination! 👊📛👊 https://t.co/1Yj9kRq9LN

He has been remarkably consistent over the years, too:

Goal @goal

Jan Oblak for Atletico Madrid… 👕 203 games ⛔️ 115 clean sheets He cost them just €16 million 😳 https://t.co/J7hb8ZZGB2

If De Gea regains his best form, United will have little need for Oblak even if he is perhaps the better goalkeeper, because their player is still one of the best on the planet.

He's about to enter the final year of his contract at Old Trafford, though, and in light of his recent form, it's understandable the Red Devils are considering their options.

Meeting Oblak's buyout clause would allow them to negotiate directly with him rather than Atleti, but they still have to convince him to join.

As Corrigan noted, doing so might be difficult if they don't have UEFA Champions League football to offer. United are three points off the top four in the Premier League with two matches remaining.

Whether they choose to stick with De Gea or pursue Oblak, it's clear United's qualification efforts could have a significant impact on the success of their expected summer overhaul.  

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