A compilation of Matej Kovar’s impressive performance on his Bayer Leverkusen debut has garnered attention, with many suggesting that Manchester United should not have let him go.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper, who spent five years in Manchester United’s academy system, joined Bundesliga side Leverkusen last month in a reported £7.7 million deal. Kovar had a successful loan spell at Sparta Prague last season, where he won the Czech First League title.
Kovar played 45 minutes in Erik ten Hag’s first pre-season friendly for Leverkusen against Leeds and then played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat to Lyon. Despite speculation about his future at Old Trafford, he left United on a permanent basis.
According to Czech publication Infotbal, Manchester United negotiated a buy-back clause in the Kovar deal and have a first-option agreement if they choose to bring him back in the future.
Matej Kovar, who was given the nickname the ‘young Neuer’ by Czech scouts during his teenage years, made his debut for Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday in their 4-0 victory over Swedish side Häcken. He delivered an impressive performance in his first outing for the club, making six saves and completing 86 percent of his passes, including 4 out of 6 long balls, addressing a previous criticism of his game.
A compilation of Kovar’s performance in the Europa League quickly surfaced online, drawing attention to his promising start at Leverkusen.
Matej Kovar Leverkusen debut – Neuer 2.0
— Joeknowsball (@joeknowstheball) September 21, 2023
Here’s how social media reacted to Kovar’s outing against Häcken.
One fan said: “Really good to see him doing well. Has all of the basic fundamentals for a modern goalkeeper. He can go far,” while another wrote: “This is the biggest fumble in clubs history. He’s nuts.”
A third commented: “We could have saved a lot of money with Kovar or Henderson. Manchester United are so desperate to spend money instead of giving chances to our academy players.”
A fourth added: “If we’re not smart with the buyback clause Kovar will be at Bayern in the next two years. I’m being 100% serious we’re looking at Neuer 2.0 here.”
Matej Kovar’s official debut for Bayer Leverkusen tonight:
• 90 minutes played
• 6 saves (3 inside the box)
• 1 punch out
• 1/1 successful runs out
• 25/29 successful passes (86%)
• 4/6 successful long balls
— Scoop. (@AcademyScoop) September 21, 2023
Thoughts on Kovar’s performance on his Leverkusen debut? Do you think Manchester United should have sold the Czech shot-stopper?
Let us know in the comments.