Manchester United’s best player, which is nice. And Manchester United’s most important player, which is worrying. Watching David De Gea develop into the best goalkeeper in the world has been one of the few unalloyed pleasures of the last few seasons, made all the sweeter by the lack of noises coming out of Real Madrid.
But should the best goalkeeper in the world have to prove it quite so often? De Gea must look back with envy at United’s last great goalkeeper, Edwin van der Sar, who had Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic trying to keep him unemployed. Major surgery on the defence is coming, it seems, and is long overdue; the back four that started the FA Cup were all signed by Alex Ferguson.
And so, let’s hope that (a) De Gea stays for a long, long time, and (b) we see a lot, lot less of him next season. AT
There’s not likely to be any disagreement on this one. De Gea cleaned up at United’s annual awards at the start of the month, and with good reason. He’s won the Player of the Season gong a record four times, and has only taken five years to do it. He’s the only genuinely world class player in this United side, and losing him would be a serious blow.
The good news is that rumours of an imminent transfer to Real Madrid haven’t surfaced for quite some time (it must be said, they seem to be coping quite alright with Keylor Navas between the sticks). That gives us good reason to believe that De Gea won’t be leaving Old Trafford any time soon, and that we might one day be able to reward him with some meaningful silverware. JS
Your one unquestionably world class player has just had his best ever individual season, and has been named as the club’s player of the season for a record four times in five years. At any other position, De Gea’s continued brilliance would be cause for unbridled joy. Instead, De Gea’s outstanding 2017-18 season comes with a taste of the bittersweet. Yes, we know he’s bloody good, but does the rest of the team have to be so hapless to force him to demonstrate his quality all of the time?
It also feels obvious to point out that any of us would rather be playing in our home city and winning the Champions League every year rather than constantly bailing out another Chris Smalling brain freeze and winning nothing. Until United can put together another truly elite team, they must do everything in their power to keep De Gea happy in the meantime. Give him a new contract and a pay rise. Give him the captain’s armband. Build him a new house just for his dog. Appoint his missus to the House of Lords.
Or maybe, just build a team around him that is worthy of him. BM
Verdict: KEEP AT ALL COSTS