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2016-17 Player Report Cards: David de Gea

Big Dave is still the best in the business.

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Manchester United v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

When it comes to David de Gea, there’s one topic that cannot be avoided. It is a giant elephant in the room; a dark storm cloud rolling ominously over them there hills. But there’s no use trying to properly assess his season without addressing the unpleasant and annoying subplot that has been threatening to overshadow his performances on the pitch in the last several weeks: his appalling new haircut.

De Gea’s oversized mohawk is clearly some kind of cry of for help, but despite his clanger of a coiffure, he has for the most part maintained his standard of excellence this season. He has occasionally appeared distracted - a fact perhaps not unrelated to once again being courted by That Mob - but an 80% focused David de Gea is still the best goalkeeper in the league.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

He has rescued games on his own this season, clawing back certain goals, and adding a reassuring presence behind a back line that has been chopped and changed all year. There have been a few times over the course of the year when he has let goals in that he would usually be expected to keep out, but that can be put down to the absurd standard of athletic brilliance that he has set in recent years. The rumored dropping in April was a worry, but it did not prove to be a harbinger of doom. De Gea slotted right back into the team, and has been as good as ever since.

The allure of Real Madrid is obvious. United are likely able to top whatever de Gea’s hometown club can offer in wages, but that is arguably where the advantages for his current employer end. After all, Madrid have won the Champions League more times in the last three years than United have even qualified for the competition.

Even though the team should be better next season after more investment in suitable transfers, and as a result, less likely to be rocked by losing de Gea, United should still be doing everything in their power to keep him. He is the only unquestionably world class player in the current squad.

José Mourinho Approval Rating: A warm, masculine embrace, and a loving cuff ‘round the ear.