Diogo Costa (FC Porto)
If things break right for Costa in his career, and they have so far, then United could potentially have their keeper for the next decade with this deal.
At 23, Diogo Costa is Portugal’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and the first name on the FC Porto teamsheet. Costa has broken perceptions that goalkeepers peak late.
With almost a decade of top-level football ahead of him, Costa’s development is a salivating prospect. He has a contract with Porto till 2027, so getting him certainly won’t be as cheap as David Raya. However, he is four years his junior, and tested at the international level as well as the Champions League, so he comes with a higher pedigree.
Besides these intangibles, even the stats love Costa. The numbers are skewed somewhat in his favour as he plays every week for FC Porto in a league where his team are the favourite in most games.
Costa is in the 81st percentile of post-shot Expected Goals-goals allowed with a figure of 0.17. His clean sheet percentage of 51.6% puts him in the 95th percentile in comparison to players in the next eight competitions in terms of prestige.
Costa has conceded just 17 goals in 25 league appearances so far, keeping 12 clean sheets.
With the shot-stopping part sorted, let’s move on to his playing style. Costa is not as aggressive a keeper as David Raya. However, he would still be a massive upgrade on David de Gea.
The average length of de Gea’s goal-kicks is 48.9 yards, compared to Costa’s figure of 36.4 yards. (Stats courtesy of FBRef) While this is a result of the team’s tactics, in de Gea’s case, this is a chicken-and-egg situation. United got a glimpse at the disaster that could ensue at the start of the season if David de Gea were to play the ball short.
Brentford and Brighton feasted on his uncertainty in those forgettable first two games in the Premier League. Since then, Erik ten Hag has opted to go long, and the panic that ensues whenever de Gea has to pass it short is palpable on the field.
Diogo Costa’s presence would sort out most of these issues. There is a growing quota of Portuguese speakers at the club so acclimatising will be easier too. Goalkeeper should ideally be a long-term investment for the club so Diogo Costa makes perfect sense in that regard.