David De Gea has been great for Manchester United, however, the time may have come to let him leave


On the 29 June 2011, Manchester United signed David De Gea from Atletico Madrid in a deal worth £18.9 million. The then 20-year-old was excited to be working under Sir Alex Ferguson. De Gea has now spent eight years at United and based on his desire to win the best accolades in world football, he has one Premier League title, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one UEFA Europa League title to his name.

At the time he signed for the club, De Gea said that he was proud and could not wait to start playing at the Old Trafford club. His first season was turbulent but Ferguson stuck by him, keeping him in the team after a series of poor performances. This helped him grow as a player becoming the player who has won United Player of the Year award in four of the past five years. Speaking when he signed for United in 2011, De Gea said:

“I feel very proud and I can’t wait to start playing here. When a club the size of Manchester United comes in for you, it obviously makes you very, very happy. I’m keen to do my best and show what I can do.”

Back in the summer of 2015, De Gea was hotly linked to Real Madrid and on deadline day in Spain, a deal emerged for the goalkeeper and it seemed that he was on his way to Madrid. De Gea was kept out of the United team during that time of speculation and he saw his move to Madrid collapse down to a paperwork issue. De Gea then signed a new contract weeks later, which would have expired this summer.

However, there was a one-year clause in the contract, which was activated in November with the player seeing his time at the club extended, at least for another year. At the time, there was a lot of speculation suggesting that the club and De Gea were in contract negotiations and he was happy to remain at United. However, at this moment in time, that does not seem all that correct.

Over the past few weeks, De Gea has not been the same player for United that he was capable of being. He has been tipped as one of, if not the best goalkeeper in the world. Today though, that is seemingly not the case after his mistakes against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening. I know a few mistakes do not suggest a player is incapable but his recent form has been terrible.

David De Gea and Sir Alex Ferguson after the 20-year-old signed for Manchester United

After the 3-0 defeat to Barcelona, 4-0 on aggregate, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about the mistake by his goalkeeper for Lionel Messi’s second goal with De Gea seemingly making the save then the ball rolling under him, similar to that poor save from Massimo Taibi many years ago. Reported by the Manchester Evening News, Solskjaer said:

“That’s unfortunate with goalkeepers. When you make an error it can get highlighted and that’ll be remembered tonight.

“But he made some fantastic saves as well, which all in all, his contribution to the team is good but sometimes that happens in football.

“You know when you get to this level you cannot slip up and you cannot make mistakes and you’ve got to take the chances you get yourself.

“And we didn’t capitalise on our great chance, but then they have their first two shots on target, that’s two goals and game over.”

Over the past few months, De Gea has been linked to Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and more recently Real Madrid, after Zinedine Zidane was reappointed as manager of the club around ten months after his departure. It all depends on what happens this summer as to where De Gea’s next chapter starts. It could be in Manchester, Paris, Madrid, Turin or elsewhere.

I am nor criticising De Gea. I would love him to remain at United for the entire career and achieve some of the biggest feats in football, however, looking at the embarrassment United are at this moment in time, that dream of achieving big in European football is just a dream. It is clear that United does not have any ambitions of achieving anything in football.

Over the past six years, money has been spent on players who on paper should have solved some problems at the club but the only problems that they have solved are marketing problems. Players such as Paul Pogba were brought in for massive fees which allowed the club to market products and make money. There does not seem to be any method in having many different players at the club other than that.

There seems to be no direction to achieve success on the pitch, just in the board room. United is a club that likes the influx in money coming in but does not want to spend to ensure that there is success on the pitch. United has now endured two seasons whereby no silverware has arrived at the club. The season previous to those two, United won the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, a false dawn for the return of success.

David De Gea after conceding Manchester United’s second goal against Barcelona

De Gea obviously has things he wants to do in the world of football and a club that has ambition would be better for him. Many will presume that the idea of this article is to slate De Gea but it is the club and the lack of ambition that is being slated here. If United wanted to keep De Gea, I am sure they could open contractual negotiations and be concluded within a week or two with the player sat smiling in a board room signing his contract at the end of that period.

The fact that this has not happened is glaringly obvious that it is not something the club wants to be doing. De Gea has saved United season after season. One or two mistakes in a match against a team which was miles ahead of United in terms of footballing ability was never going to change what De Gea has done for the club. Winning the Player of the Year award four times in five seasons shows you how well he has done post-Ferguson. That cannot be taken away from him or the club.

There have been many (false) reports in the media over the past few years whereby they have stated that United and De Gea were close to renewals. These things have never actually materialised so I guess it shows you the closeness of the article writer to the club and the information they have been provided. I want De Gea to stay at United but in a period whereby there is no sense of direction at the club, I would rather see him achieve his dreams elsewhere.

If he remains at United, it does not look like it will be a club that is looking to return to the pinnacle of football. Is that fair for De Gea and other players who want to be achieving league titles, domestic cups and even European silverware? Does De Gea deserve to be a player that looks elsewhere at other players who are celebrating UEFA Champions League successes and thinking ‘that could have been me?’

In order to keep players like De Gea at United, the club needs to find a way of ensuring that the successes of the past are not the only thing it stands for. There needs to be a path to success in the future. The Glazers and Ed Woodward may be happy with the money coming in right now but things will change fast if there is a lack of any success over a period of time. United have regressed massively and that is a trend that will continue.

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