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David De Gea subject to head turning; maybe it won’t work again!

Cast your mind back to the end of the 2014/15 season. Victor Valdes made his debut against Arsenal, replacing an injured David De Gea at Old Trafford, with the Spaniard applauding as he walked off the pitch with an injury, seemingly his last time doing so. The speculation linking De Gea with a summer move to Real Madrid was rife, Manchester United supporters thought they had seen the last of the player who was brought in to replace Edwin van der Sar, looking like he was not going to do that in the early days, but stepping up and filling the void. The move to Madrid was going through on Deadline Day in Spain, but the paperwork did not go through and the move fell through, leaving the Spanish goalkeeper in limbo as to whether he would be accepted by the Old Trafford faithful, sitting out the start of the 2015/16 season. De Gea then signed a new contract, which would keep him at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2019, with the option of a further year to be added. United had won the battle, but was the war over yet? Speaking about his new contract at the time, De Gea said:

“I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career. I have always enjoyed playing with these great players in front of our fantastic fans. Manchester United is a special club and Old Trafford is an ideal place for me to continue to develop my career. I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and concentrating on working hard to improve and help my teammates to be successful.”

De Gea had never, at least publicly, stated his desire to leave United for Madrid, but the fact he was doing just that, in effect stated that was what he wanted to happen, at least at that time, anyway. The Spaniard in signing his new contract, which was his only real option at the time, secured himself into the future of United, earning himself another chance to reach the dizzy heights he career had so far, at least under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson. De Gea could now put Madrid into the back of his mind and fight for United, aiming to take them back to the pinnacle of English football, then aiming to reach the pinnacle of European football once again. Despite the club not faring well in the Premier League, outside of the top four, Louis van Gaal’s side finished fifth in the league, earning a UEFA Europa League group stage place and winning the Emirates FA Cup, for the twelfth time, twelve years after their last success in the domestic competition. Under the guidance of Van Gaal though, was something De Gea and other teammates were not happy about.

Hours after winning the FA Cup, rumours were rife that the Dutchman would be sacked, confirmation of that coming a day later. Jose Mourinho, at the time hotly tipped to replace Van Gaal, replaced him by signing a three-year contract. Mourinho confirmed that he had convinced De Gea to remain at the Theatre of Dreams, looking towards the future in order to reanimate the then flatlining United side, guiding them to greatness once again, or at least that was the plan, but possibly more of a long-term plan. Last summer, Mourinho excited the supporters, the players and the clubs hierarchy by signing Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Paul Pogba all despite not managing a club playing in the pinnacle of European competitions, which shows the lure of the club and more importantly the manager himself, despite being sacked by Chelsea months earlier. Mourinho was the man to lead United into attack again after David Moyes, Ryan Giggs, albeit interim and Louis van Gaal had all failed before.

David De Gea had the chance to earn his plaudits once again from a manager considered as on the best currently in the game. Mourinho is a winner, a manager capable of getting the best from his players, perhaps not like Ferguson did, but something the previous managers were not able to do. The season started well for United and De Gea, winning the first four matches, lifting the first silverware under Mourinho in the FA Community Shield, but then suffering three defeats in a row before finding their way again and winning the EFL Cup back in February. Things have been tough at times for United and De Gea this season, but not as tough as they were immediately following the retirement of Ferguson. This season De Gea has been playing well, but long gone are the days where he would be a contender for the Manchester United Player of the Year award, something he had won for three seasons in a row from the 2013/14 season. This season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, among others will probably go head-to-head for the award, leaving De Gea out of the spotlight, which will make him happy.

De Gea is a great player, but having a goalkeeper as the Player of the Year, especially for three seasons running, shows that there was nobody more special at the club, despite the achievements made by the Spaniard. De Gea is still a player I would like to see at the club, as would you, Mourinho and his United teammates. But Real Madrid may still be looking to win the war after losing out in their battle two years ago. We know De Gea would like a move back to Madrid, something his girlfriend would like also. But would it be something anyone else would want? There are suggestions, from polls in Spain that the Real Madrid faithful, if you can call them that, would not want De Gea at the club. That poll did not include another goalkeeper, though. That might be enough for United to keep the Spaniard again, reneging yet another attempt from Real Madrid to take a top player from the Theatre of Dreams, but would they be back for the third time? Manchester United will be looking to offer the 26-year-old a more lucrative contract, which could see him as one of the top earners at the club.

De Gea will have two-years remaining on his current contract this summer, with an option to add a third year to that, but securing De Gea to another new contract will be something Mourinho and United will be looking to do, securing the future for one of, if not the best goalkeeper in the world right now to new terms. It is currently suggested that De Gea is on £200,000 per week, with a new deal seemingly taking him closer to £300,000 per week, which may just show how much the player is rated by the club, the manager, his teammates and more importantly the clubs supporters. There are suggestions in the media that United are prepared to let De Gea leave too, as long as their £66 million asking price is matched, something which may deter Real Madrid as he will not emerge as a player similar to the stature of Cristiano Ronaldo did eight years ago. It could well be that De Gea remains with United heading into the new season, which is what many will want as replacing a goalkeeper is never the easiest and United had problems in De Gea’s early days with Ferguson sticking by him, which worked out well.

The prospects of the summer transfer window may well keep De Gea interested as United are hotly linked to the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Jose Gimenez and Kylian Mbappe, which may well work out for Mourinho and United in some or all of those players moving to the Theatre of Dreams, United could do with the creativity, attacking power and the defensive ability contained within all four players, which would go a long way to see United progress as Premier League title contenders next season, hopefully playing in the pinnacle European competition too. Mourinho will have other plans should he need to shop for a new goalkeeper, but with the likes of Sergio Romero, who has played well in the cup competitions this season, waiting in the wings, and Portuguese youngster Joel Pereira, United may well have a starting point in securing the back, should that option need to be endured. United will be in good hands with or without David De Gea, should he decide that Madrid is the destination for him, but choosing Manchester over Madrid will be the better decision.

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