Just a matter of hours after Manchester United had secured a routine 5-2 victory over LA Galaxy during their first pre-season match on their tour of America, it was announced on their official website that veteran Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero has penned a new four-year contract.
It was an announcement that will hardly evoke the excitement and anticipation that both Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku received, but away from the surface it’s an excellent piece of business.
Since joining up with United in 2015, arriving from Italian outfit Sampdoria on a free transfer, Romero has quietly gone about his football as a number two behind the world-class David de Gea.
Given very little football in Louis van Gaal’s final season, the Argentine registered just four Premier League appearances – and one FA Cup bow – as the Spaniard was preferred across all competitions.
But Jose Mourinho’s arrival has sparked a revival of his career somewhat, being United’s exclusive Europa League goalkeeper and making 12 appearances as he led his side all the way to the trophy.
It seems suitable, then, that his time at Old Trafford has been extended indefinitely – potentially leaving Romero as seeing his career out in Manchester – and it’s well deserved.
Speaking about his contract extension, Romero told the club’s official website:
“I am very happy to prolong my career here because when I started with the club, I quickly realised it is fantastic and it is the biggest club in the world.
“I think the last year was a fantastic time for us. We won the Europa League, I played a lot of games for the team and my expectation for this year is to continue in this direction for helping the group.
“The manager has given me a lot of confidence and for me it is very good. It would be very nice to stay at Manchester United for a long time.”
Perhaps the key point to come out of all of that was his last statement, issuing the confidence and faith that new boss Jose Mourinho has kept in him throughout last season.
After little in the way of game-time the season before, it is easy to forget that Romero is still the Argentina number one, carrying them to two Copa America finals and the 2014 World Cup final too.
This experience as a number two is simply priceless – added up with his spells at AZ Alkmaar, Sampdoria and Monaco – and it’s hard to argue that he isn’t the best back-up in the Premier League.
Mourinho has utilised Romero to the perfect extent in the past 12 months, giving him an extended run in the Europa League and, eventually, keeping faith to start him in the final as well.
It is hard to say it was not justified either, with the Argentine’s last-minute save at full-stretch from a free-kick against the little-known FC Rostov saving United from the embarrassment of extra-time on that occasion, whilst a string of good saves against Celta Vigo ensured their progress to Stockholm.
Romero is never going to topple De Gea from his role as United’s number one but this is a fact that both he and Mourinho know. Instead, they’re making it work in a positive way that benefits the club.
Another four years of Romero is a very smart move made by United, especially with Mourinho facing the fixture pile up courtesy of four competitions next season – and as they say, class is permanent.
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