There is life after David De Gea for Manchester United

David De Gea has reportedly rejected a new contract at Manchester United this summer and reports suggest it was the best offer he was going to get at the Theatre of Dreams. It was suggested that De Gea was seeking £350,000 per week, which is what French champions Paris Saint-Germain would be able to pay the player.

It is also suggested in the report, albeit by The Sun, that PSG may offer £60 million for De Gea during this transfer window but also that they could opt to wait a year and sign him for free next summer, sorting out a pre-contract agreement for the Spanish number on from January 2020. Personally, if De Gea does not want to commit his future at United, he should be sold this summer.

De Gea has been at the club since the summer of 2011, replacing Edwin van der Sar. It was a rocky start for the Spanish goalkeeper and for a season and a half he was trusted by the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, eventually seeing the goalkeeper find his feet, showing the supporters at the time who had lost faith in him that he was not another Massimo Taibi.

More often than not, over the past six years post-Ferguson, De Gea has been the standout player, four times out of the last six seasons being named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year – becoming the first goalkeeper to win the award, the first player to win the award in three consecutive seasons, then becoming the first player to win the award four times.

There is no doubting that De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world but his form over the second half of the season declined, presumably because his future was up in the air, his head had seemingly been turned not to mention the contract wrangle he seemed to be in. To me, it suggests that the time is now to let De Gea leave the club as it is certain the hierarchy does not want to meet his wage demands.

I can understand why the club does not want to pay high wages as it has not worked with Alexis Sanchez earning a monstrous wage each week, plus his reported bonus structure and not actually doing much for the club in terms of scoring and assisting goals. The dangers that giving Sanchez this contract has not been seen by Ed Woodward and his incompetence is the main factor in this. Giving De Gea what he wants should have been what happened.

There is life for United after De Gea though, which is what they will need to overcome. It is not the end of the world that a goalkeeper or any other player wants to leave the club. There is always a way out of it. Sergio Romero is a capable number two although there is some hesitation that he could be a suitable replacement for De Gea, for the long-term. He has made some mistakes – haven’t they all. That doesn’t mean the same mistakes will be made again though.

United still has Lee Grant at the club. Not the greatest of names and he’s only played in one competitive match since signing for the club, losing a penalty shootout to Derby County in the Carabao Cup. Then there is the youth option. Dean Henderson has played in the National League North (Stockport County 2015/16), League Two (Grimsby Town 2016/17), League One (Shrewsbury Town 2017/18) and the Championship (Sheffield United 2018/19). Henderson has really come to form in the last two seasons, this season earning promotion to the Premier League with Sheffield United.

Joel Pereira is also an option, however, his loan spells have not quite worked out the same as Henderson’s – you could say the spells were more failures than successes. He’s spent time with Rochdale (2016/17), Belenenses (2017/18), Vitória de Setúbal (first half of 2018/19), and Kortrijk (second half of 2018/19) – making 33 appearances in three seasons. This may not give him the confidence of experience Henderson currently has.

United will also, of course, have the option to bring in a new goalkeeper. Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid has been linked to the club in the past but his release clause would need to be activated. Jasper Cillessen has also been linked to United a number of days ago, however, it seems that he may now be moving to Benfica, according to reports. The one thing United might learn from this is that buying a new goalkeeper will be expensive. Only last summer, Allison cost Liverpool £66.8 million and Kepa Arrizabalaga cost Chelsea £71.6 million.

It is safe to say that United are now in a proper rebuilding period and a period of transition. If the correct decisions are not made, starting with this summer, the decline of the club will continue. That is not what anyone actually wants. It will serve Woodward and the Glazers right though. Despite more than £700 million being spent over the past six years, it is around 15% of the overall turnover of the club. It is now time that hands were put back into pockets to spend money rather than it being syphoned out of the club.

There is life after David De Gea. The player knows that and the club will know that. But to settle in that life, the decisions which have already been made need to be adhered to. The club can no longer buy into a project and quit when the going gets tough. That just sets the club back even further. Heading into the 2019/20 season, United should have finished their rebuilding stage and should be in a position whereby they are challenging for trophies once again. However, the decisions made did not go the right way and the club is now paying for that.

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copyright: JW

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