This season will mark David De Gea’s eighth season between the posts for Manchester United and will equal Peter Schmeichel’s longevity in goal while surpassing that of Edwin Van Der Sar by a full two seasons. De Gea has been an incredible servant to United since his debut in 2011 and his current contract ends in July 2019. United have the option of triggering a one-year extension, potentially keeping the Spaniard in Manchester until 2020.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News reported in August that Manchester United expected De Gea to agree a new deal shortly, following Thibaut Courtois’ move to Real Madrid from Chelsea. De Gea had been widely linked with Madrid, even agreeing a deal in 2015 only to be foiled by a fax machine mishap, but it appears that Madrid have now found their long-term solution in goal with Courtois.
De Gea was asked about his potential new deal with Manchester United last week and responded:
“I feel really loved at his club from the fans from all the people who are for this club … I am really happy to play for this club, one of best clubs in the world, so for me really good to be part of this club.”
A problem remains however, in that De Gea has not yet signed his new deal. Moreover, his quotes do not indicate that he is about to. Should United fans be worried that he has not yet signed his new deal?
De Gea’s opportunity to sign for Real Madrid has passed, though should the Spaniard ever become available for transfer, there would be plenty of suitors for his signature. David De Gea is one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers and has had to prove himself in one of the more difficulty eras of Manchester United’s recent history.
The history books are yet to be written but the Spaniard is a contender to be considered Manchester United’s greatest ever goalkeeper. Modern football may have forgotten the brilliance of Alex Stepney, and the most obvious recent comparison is that of Peter Schmeichel. The pair are very different goalkeepers; Schmeichel was surprisingly agile for a big man while De Gea is surprisingly robust for one so slight. The Spaniard has had a far more testing time in Manchester than the Great Dane and his rear-guard defence has been called upon far more than Schmeichel ever was.
To De Gea’s eternal credit, he has never spoken publicly about his desire to sign for Madrid, or even appeared to agitate for a move. In an era when stars use their agents and social media to boost their image and potential earnings, De Gea has been professional and dignified throughout his United career. He has been the perfect example to his teammates and should be considered captaincy material were he to remain at Old Trafford beyond his current deal.
It is perhaps stereotyping, but the Spaniards at Manchester United – De Gea, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata – have each been excellent servants to the club. Each have had their grievances during their spells in Manchester but they have always conducted themselves in the most honourable regard, and should their social media profiles be believed, have each ingratiated themselves in the culture of the north of England.
Manchester United’s poor start to the season has also thrown other issues into the mix. If United were not to finish in the top four this season, and De Gea has not signed a new deal, it is highly probable that Manchester United would be forced to sell the Spaniard to ensure a return on one of their most prized assets.
Having said that, De Gea’s love of Manchester might indeed be genuine. The Spanish goalkeeper was wholly slammed by his own national media for his performances in the 2018 World Cup, yet returned to a hero’s welcome at Old Trafford in August. De Gea recently recounted his surprise at his welcome for the Liverpool home game in September 2015 following his botched move to Madrid. It is possible that De Gea identifies the loyalty in Manchester and might appreciate it, but until his new deal is signed, the fears of his loss will continue to be felt.