Jorge Mendes in Manchester to finalise David De Gea’s new contract; Bruno Fernandes mentioned also

Manchester United are close to securing the future of goalkeeper David De Gea, at least according to reports. It is suggested that the agent of the 28-year-old is in Manchester to sort out the formalities of the Spanish goalkeeper’s new contract at the Old Trafford club. It is suggested that it could be worth up to £350,000 a week.

At the end of last season with contract negotiations seemingly on hold after failing to secure the Spaniard, it seemed that he was destined to leave the Theatre of Dreams, something which many, at least at the time, agreed with. However, right now, with many supporters optimistic of the clubs start to the 2019/20 season, keeping #DaveSaves is important.

De Gea is a big part of Manchester United and can play a big part of the future at the club. At some point in the future, he may be challenged by Dean Henderson, who is spending a second season on loan at Sheffield United, who will be playing in the Premier League this season. The fact that De Gea wants to stay now is great for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It is stated in the report that Mendes could even help United sign Bruno Fernandes before Thursday’s deadline with United also seeking to strengthen the midfield following the departure of both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in 2019, which might be something to nothing, most probably the latter because of the speculation.

De Gea’s reported new contract will be for five years in total, four years with a year to be added on. It will bring the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford if De Gea commits his future to the club, despite him being contracted for one final year after a clause was activated during last season, stopping him leaving on a free this summer.

The new contract has been at least seven months in the making with an impasse being broken recently and a breakthrough in the negotiations, resulting in the player remaining at United, hopefully, for the majority of the rest of his career. United without De Gea would have been something the club would have needed to get used to.

Hopefully, confirmation of this new contract will be coming soon.

Manchester United have proven to be finders of good ‘keepers. But what lies in store for them?

Game after game, season after season, David De Gea regularly thwarted Manchester United’s opponents with scarcely believable saves. It was for this reason that he has been forgiven by the club’s fan-base after a poor end to the 2018/19 season, where only a few United players excelled. Despite this loss of form, De Gea’s quality was never in doubt and he is on the verge of signing a new contract with the club.

United also recently tied down the highly-rated Dean Henderson, who is yet to appear for the first-team, to a new deal. The club now finds itself well-stocked in the goalkeeping department and Henderson’s loan to newly-promoted Sheffield United could leave the club in an even better position this time next year. De Gea is the club’s undisputed number one and that is unlikely to change in the near future.

The Spaniard, who joined United in 2011 as a replacement for legendary custodian Edwin van der Sar, has been a consistent performer for the club since the 2013/14 season, having only shown flashes of his abilities in the seasons prior. These initial struggles seemed to stem from the time it took him to settle, both in England and at United. After almost leaving the club in 2015, he signed a new deal which is again on the verge of extension.

The new deal is likely to keep him at United well into his 30s, which means the club will have been the benefactors of his peak years as a goalkeeper. The former Atletico Madrid player also finds himself a candidate for the role of United captain, which is unsurprising as he often leads by example through his performances. He has also been a role model for the younger players at the club and has previously been captain of Spain’s U21 team.

Sergio Romero has served as De Gea’s deputy since the 2015/16 season. The Argentine was signed by his former AZ Alkmaar manager Louis van Gaal during the Dutchman’s term as United manager. Romero arrived on a free transfer from Sampdoria as a replacement for De Gea, who eventually ended up staying at the club. The 32 year old possesses a wealth of experience in various leagues, having also played for AS Monaco in France and Racing Club in his homeland.

This transfer proved to be a bargain for United as Romero, formerly Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper, has performed reliably when called upon, even playing a key role in United’s triumph in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League. Romero also boasts 27 clean sheets in just 45 appearances for the club, giving him the most clean sheets per game by any United ‘keeper to have played more than three competitive games for the club in its history.

It is conceivable that he may decide to move back to Argentina in the future or step back at United to allow the club to make room for a younger deputy, particularly if one of the on-loan youngsters excels in the 2019/20 season. Lee Grant meanwhile, was signed by the club last year to serve as third-choice, thereby allowing United’s younger goalkeepers to go on loans to gain experience and speed up their development.

The 36 year old previously received a Man of the Match award at Old Trafford, after spectacularly thwarting United for Stoke City in a 1-1 draw in the 2016/17 Premier League. Despite only making a single competitive appearance for the club, Grant boasts a wealth of experience in the lower tiers of English football as well as the Premier League. Upon signing for the club, he mentioned that he still has much to learn, even at his age.

Having been the only native English-speaker in United’s goalkeeping department prior to this summer, Grant took to learning Spanish so as to better communicate with colleagues De Gea and Romero, as well as goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez. He is likely to retire soon and take up a coaching role at the club. While still a player, he represents a safety net for the first-team, in the event that one of their regular ‘keepers is side-lined.

Joel Castro Pereira currently finds himself outside United’s plans for the 2019/20 season. The Swiss-born Portuguese stopper has yet to fully convince any of his loan clubs and has been in and out of their teams over the course of his loan spells. Previous United manager and compatriot José Mourinho hailed Pereira as Portugal’s next number one goalkeeper, praise which he has since failed to justify.

That being said, the fact that he is still at United at the age of 23, suggests that the club feel that he is still far from his peak and they are willing to continue his development. He is probably going to spend the next year on loan so he can get more playing time. Pereira still has plenty of time on his side to fulfil his potential but he needs to start kicking on now to reward United’s patience with him and perhaps step up to take over a role from one of Romero or Grant.

Dean Henderson enjoyed a terrific season on loan at Sheffield United in 2018/19, helping them to promotion to the Premier League. He has since signed a new deal with United and re-joined the Blades on loan for the 2019/20 season, where he will likely be the first-choice goalkeeper in the Premier League. This is a considerable boost to the development of the Cumbrian, who has been on the radar of English national team manager Gareth Southgate, despite having never played in England’s top division.

A good 2019/20 season for Henderson would give United a welcome headache, as they would either have to make room for him in their goalkeeping department or sell him. At just 22, he is the youngest of all the ‘keepers with first-team experience on United’s books and still has many years left at a high level. Henderson also has a different set of skills to those currently in United’s first-team, having the good footwork and distribution associated with more modern goalkeepers.

He has also stated that he believes he can be United’s number one ‘keeper in the future and this is certainly the attitude required to succeed at the club. United also have a few other goalkeepers on their books, namely Kieran O’Hara, Matej Kovar, and Alex Fojticek. English-born O’Hara, 23, will spend the 2019/20 season on loan at Burton Albion in England’s League One. It is unlikely that he has a future at the club, unless he is willing to fight for second or third-choice at United.

This would be unwise, particularly as he is under consideration for the Irish national team and would be more likely to get more game time at a smaller club, in order to further his development. Under-19 Czech Republic and Slovakia internationals Kovar and Fojticek will battle it out for the spot of reserve team goalkeeper for the 2019/20 season. Kovar has previously trained with the first-team after injury side-lined one of their regulars and this is likely to continue in the 2019/20 season.

Both he and Fojticek will continue their development with the reserves and will only be promoted to the first-team as short-term cover. United will be looking to assess their options with regard to these players at the end of the season, particularly as the recent drive to recruit highly-rated youngsters from other clubs hasn’t included any goalkeepers. The club has instead opted to continue the development of players already at the club, showing faith in these players.

To conclude, it is the preference of most United supporters that Henderson be integrated into the first-team as soon as possible. If he proves himself to be a reliable, Premier League-level goalkeeper, the club would undoubtedly find it harder to hold on to him. Having said that, United have gone about refreshing their squad with younger, more exciting players for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. to develop.

Henderson and Pereira are goalkeepers in this mould and should be included in the club’s plans for the future, perhaps ahead of the ageing Romero and Grant.

Written by Shiven Nayager

The candidates for the Manchester United captaincy ahead of the 2019/20 season

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big decision to make ahead of the new Premier League season which starts in just over a fortnight with United hosting Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday 11 August 2019. The decision is who will captain the squad this season. Antonio Valencia, the previous club captain left the club this summer.

There are a number of options for Solskjaer to choose from which range from goalkeeper David De Gea, fullback Ashley Young, central defender Victor Lindelof to midfielder Paul Pogba. There are other players, who could be a sort of wild card option along with any further new signing Solskjaer will make before the transfer window closed in two weeks time.

Here are reasons for (and against) players becoming the captain for the forthcoming season.

David De Gea

The Spanish number one could well be the best option for the captaincy role at the club. It could give him the challenge he needs to commit his future to the club for the rest of the best days of his career. De Gea had his contract extended for another year based on the clause in the contract he signed when he nearly left the club in the summer of 2015. There have been many reports of the goalkeeper signing a new contract this summer but so far, nothing has become official.

Whilst De Gea could make a good captain, he should commit to the club first. Solskjaer will rate him as a leader and recently he has suggested that he could step up and become a leader in the team, which has been lacking one for some time now. De Gea as the captain could be a good move for Solskjaer and the player himself as he will have committed to the club that he so wants to be a part of. He is one of the longestserving players at the club and will be respected like any other long-serving player.

Victor Lindelof

The Swedish central defender had a great season last season and was the first name on the team sheet as far as central defenders go. Finding him a partner which can not only bring the best out of the pair is what Solskjaer needs to do this summer. Some supporters have suggested that Lindelof deserves to be the captain next season. For me, he is a contender but needs a bit more time at the club in order to captain the team. So far so good though. In the future, the Swede could well be one of the best defenders to play for the club.

Lindelof could well be that voice in the defence that is needed in order to push his defensive partner, and those ahead of him in midfield and further forward but for me, there are players who seem to be more respected in the team based on the fact they have been there the longest. Solskjaer will not want to upset the dynamic of the team which giving the captains armband to an effectively new player in the team could cause. Players such as De Gea, Young and others might be more respected by the majority of the squad but there is not reason Lindelof could not be a voice within the squad, leading from the back.

Ashley Young

The 34-year-old seems the most likely player to be named the club captain this summer, whether people agree with it or not. Young is the joint second longest-serving player at the club right now, behind Chris Smalling arriving at the same time as Phil Jones. Young is respected by his teammates, despite his form taking a massive dip over the last year. Young could be the club captain in a similar fashion as Valencia last season, playing a small part on the pitch – a captain does not need to play.

Young has been a great player for United, albeit as a winger rather than a fullback but over the past few seasons, he has offered something that was lacking in the squad. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw likely to occupy the fullback roles and Diogo Dalot likely to rival the former, Young might have to settle for a bit-part role as a fullback this season, which may not be good for him but in terms of competition, it could be the best option for United right now. Like Valencia, he could be a good captain off the pitch with a vice-captain who plays more doing the on-pitch duty.

Paul Pogba

Many supporters would like to see the Frenchman as the captain of this club. However, first of all, something needs to be established. Does Pogba need a new challenge away from United or is he fully enlisted in the cause for the club? Three years ago, he came back to the club because he had unfinished business. Does he want to change that or does he still want to have unfinished business at United? Pogba will need to think about a few things before accepting the armband, if it is offered to him.

Over the past few seasons, Pogba has emerged as a player with the ability but seems to have played only when Paul Pogba wanted to. In order to captain this team, that needs to stop right there and the hunger, thirst and determination to succeed need to become a major factor in his game. Pogba has everything in his locker to be the leader in this team but if he does not have the desire to lead the team, this would not be the right move for Solskjaer or the player.

Other candidates

I have been keeping an eye on social media for comments from supporters who think other players should be considered for the captains role in the team. Names mentioned are Marcus Rashford, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic and even Anthony Martial. I am surprised by some names which have been mentioned. Smalling is the most senior player at the club this summer but that does not mean he should be named the club captain. Right now, the best thing he can do is win his place in the team back, which might be made more difficult should a new defender arrive.

Rashford is an honest player to be named but this season is going to be one for him to show his best at the club. He is likely to be the main striker in the team and he will need to knuckle down and bring the goals the club desperately needs to get back on the road to success. Naming him the captain will only complicate matters and his has his entire future ahead of him, if this is something he wants to achieve in the future. Matic seems to be out of form and will be in the same predicament as Young, not playing much so that option is out of the window too.

When Martial was mentioned, despite his honest talent, I did laugh. So many supporters seem to overrate him massively. He has been poor for the last few seasons and has hardly looked happy at the club. He signed a new long-term contract but that does not mean he has made it. In a few years, if he starts to do what he talent suggests he can do, there is no reason why he cannot be a contender for the captaincy but for the immediate future, the best thing the Frenchman can do is put his head down, listen to the advice that he has been given and work towards becoming that player his talent could help make him.

A new signing?

United have been strongly linked with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, an attack minded midfielder from Sporting in Portugal also the captain of his team. Whilst it is not certain that United will sign him; reports seem to contradict with some suggesting that there is interest and others suggesting that there isn’t. However, for a new player to come into the team and be given the captains armband might not be the best option.

The same could be said for Harry Maguire, which currently plays for Leicester City, although there is a belief that his time at the club could be all but over with United waiting in the wings. I don’t think allowing a new player to become the captain just after they have signed is the best thing for the squad dynamic. However, like with Lindelof and others, being a vocal player in terms of leadership will not be a bad thing in the team.

The iconic impact of David De Gea

A widely held opinion is that a goalkeeper is the hardest position in a squad to replace. While a striker can afford to make errors in the midst of settling into a team, a catastrophic error for a goalkeeper can be instantly fatal. This was illustrated in Manchester United’s quest to replace Peter Schmeichel, with Fabien BarthezRoy Carroll and Tim Howard failing to replicate the brilliance of Schmeichel.

However, in 2005, Alex Ferguson finally found a goalkeeper fit to fill the shoes of the towering Dane. Upon the arrival of Edwin van der Saar, United’s ongoing goalkeeper dilemma came to an end. Van der Saar was sensational in the following six years while winning four Premier League trophies and a European Cup in the process. An issue for United was that Van der Saar was a short term fix.

As the Dutchman joined United at the age of 34, it was clear that United would have to replace Van der Saar fairly imminently. With Van der Saar’s age in mind, Sir Alex Ferguson invested his belief in Ben Foster, with the hope the Englishman could be the heir to Van Der Saar’s throne. But following a catastrophic error in United’s 4-3 Derby-day victory over Manchester City, Foster was regarded as being substandard in relation to the United goalkeeping jersey.

However, just two years later, Ferguson signed a goalkeeper that would become an iconic figure at Manchester United, David De Gea. In the wake of his £18 million transfer from Atletico Madrid, De Gea struggled. On the Spaniard’s debut for Manchester United, he made a shaky start against arch-rivals Manchester City in the Community Shield, failing to save unremarkable efforts from Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko.

Throughout the 2011/12 season, De Gea continued to struggle. A major weakness of De Gea was his inability to deal with aerial duals, which was partly due to his lack of strength, and arguably a lack of confidence. In the 2012/13 season, De Gea and United won the Premier League title, for the twentieth time in the club’s history. In spite of winning the first league title of his career, De Gea had a mixed season.

While David De Gea started twenty-eight of United’s thirty-eight-game league campaign, the Spaniard found himself dropped for Anders Lindegaard for ten of those games. In spite of briefly losing his place in the starting eleven, De Gea did provide moments of brilliance. A notable example of this is his remarkable save in an away fixture at Stamford Bridge, to deny Juan Mata’s free kick.

Furthermore, David De Gea’s statistics provided good reading for the Spaniard. Throughout the campaign, De Gea had an overall save percentage of 76%, while making 84 saves. In comparison, Manchester City’s then goalkeeper Joe Hart, had a save percentage of 69%, while Petr Cech’s stood at 77%, just 1% more than De Gea. The fact that at just 22 De Gea was emulating Joe Hart and close to being on par with Petr Cech, illustrates the extraordinary development of the Spaniard.

In spite of De Gea’s already sensational performances, his development following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure was to propel him into being widely regarded as an elite level goalkeeper. In the post Ferguson era, David De Gea has won four Sir Matt Busby Player Of The Year awards, all of which have been completely deserved. 

During De Gea’s United career, there have been countless games in which the shot-stopper’s performances have been out of this world. The first of these was in a 2-1 home win at home to Everton, when De Gea saved a penalty from Leighton Baines, prevailed victorious in a ‘one on one’ with Steven Naismith, and provided a stupendous double save in the dying minutes to secure United all three points.

Another iconic performance by De Gea was in a 3-1 away victory over Arsenal in 2017, when the Spaniard made a remarkable 14 saves, the joint-most since Opta statistics began in 2003/04. The heroics of De Gea were also illustrated by the fact Arsenal had 16 shots on target and scored only one goal. The statistical evidence combined with De Gea’s superb double save from Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez, emphasises the majestic brilliance of De Gea.

However, it could also be argued that De Gea’s goalkeeping performance at the Emirates was the greatest in Manchester United’s history. In the midst of all the talk surrounding the potential departure of Paul Pogba, the importance of De Gea has largely been understated. Without De Gea’s sensational performances over the past five years, it’s bordering on scary to contemplate where United would be without the former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper.

The countless superhuman performances De Gea has provided must surely have earned De Gea a very strong chance in the debate of United’s greatest ever goalkeepers. There are currently strong rumours that De Gea will extend his stay at United, which will provide United fans with a rare source of celebration. While the current state of United is one of mediocrity, without David De Gea, it would be one of disaster.

Written by Alexei Braithwaite

David De Gea offered improved contract to remain at Manchester United this summer

Manchester United have reportedly made goalkeeper David De Gea an improved contract offer this summer. Simon Stone of the BBC has reported that this contract offer would see De Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in world football. United activated the extra years on the player’s contract during last season.

Over the past year, United has been trying to get the 28-year-old to sign a new contract – which has so far failed. The Spanish number one was linked to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer – something which does not look like it will materialise. United had also been linked with a host of goalkeepers in order to replace the Spaniard.

Stone reported that it is believed that De Gea would rather stay at United but his advisors feel that as his stature at the club has risen, largely after winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award in four seasons out of five, that he should be one of the highest earners at the club. With all respect, he is a player who has put in the effort post-Sir Alex Ferguson.

The contract that Alexis Sanchez has at United will be seen as a benchmark, which is dangerous ground for United as when other players want new contracts, that will become a benchmark too – but Ed Woodward caused all this by giving Sanchez what he gave him, especially when you factor in the failure of the Chilean after 18 months at the club.

United would obviously like to keep De Gea – I would too. However, I have written about the club having a life after De Gea, which is a fact. If De Gea wanted to leave, I am sure he would have ensured that he would be undergoing pre-season training at another club right now, however, he is still at United – that must mean something.

United were seemingly happy to let the player run his contract down at the club as it would allow them to try and tempt him to remain at the Theatre of Dreams and if these reports are true, the groundwork has been done and United could well be keeping their number one goalkeeper which is great news for the stability of the squad.

Manchester United could pay David De Gea £20 million to leave this summer if Paris-Saint-Germain make a move for the goalkeeper

Manchester United are reportedly ready to offer goalkeeper David De Gea £20 million if he leave the club this summer, rather than run his contract down and leave as a free agent next summer. Reports surfaced during the past week that Paris Saint-Germain is interested in the Spanish goalkeeper after it was reported that Gianluigi Buffon will leave the club this month.

United activated the additional one-year option in De Gea’s contract this season, stopping him from leaving the Theatre of Dreams as a free agent this summer. There were reports of the player being offered a new contract at United also, but he wanted to become one of the clubs highest earners, with Alexis Sanchez earning around £500,000 a week, including bonuses.

It is expected, according to the reports, that the French champions will place a bid between £60-£75 million for De Gea this summer, instead of waiting a year to sign the player as a free agent. De Gea could be key to the French club winning the UEFA Champions League, maybe. Obviously, playing in the elite European competition is better than playing in the UEFA Europa League.

It is a shame that it seems De Gea will leave United, whether this summer or next. He has spent eight years at the club, winning one Premier League title, three FA Community Shields, one FA Cup, one EFL Cup and on UEFA Europa League. It was expected that the player could have been able to win more with United but the past six years have more often than not been a failure.

It seems long gone that a club like Real Madrid are interested in De Gea, after miraculously failing to sign him in the summer 2015 transfer window, all because of late paperwork, which meant the Spaniard signed a new long-term deal at Old Trafford, which is set to expire next summer, after the extra one-year clause was activated.

The fact that, if true, United will offer the player £20 million to leave this summer, would suggest they are eager to turn over a new leave and admit defeat in keeping the goalkeeper at the club. If the players contract expires and he leaves as a free agent, he could make a lot of money signing for a club without a contract next summer. It is thought that the reported £20 million payment could tempt him.

It is unknown what United would do if De Gea did leave this summer. They have Sergio Romero, who still has two years remaining on his contract and Lee Grant, who was signed last summer, having a year left. Dean Henderson, who had a great season at Sheffield United, could be involved, however, it is expected that he will spend another season on loan at the South Yorkshire club, who won promotion to the Premier League last season.

United have been linked with AC Milan goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, who could leave the club for £53 million this summer and with Mino Raiola’s suspension from acting as a football agent this summer, which was originally filed but the FIGC in Italy then made worldwide by FIFA, being lifted, a move could materialise, if both parties were interested in agreeing on a deal for the 20-year-old. United has also been linked with Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, once again.

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.

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.

Manchester United needs to rethink their negotiation tactics on contract extensions

Ander Herrera’s potential exit from Manchester Unitedhas raised questions to the tactics used by the club when it comes to extending the contracts of current players. Herrera Is out of contract in the summer, and according to the rumours has agreed to a move in the summer to Paris Saint-Germain.

The controversy has surrounded the fact that with the Spanish midfielder being so close to the end of his contract, he hasn’t even been offered a new one by United, and how has the potential to leave without any transfer fee paid by PSG.

This isn’t the first occurrence of this happening to players who would seemingly be obvious choices to secure with contract extensions. David De Gea is also down to the bone of his contract, with the club only having one season left on his contract after activating the option to keep the goalkeeper one more year.

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De Gea has also been a victim to this game before, as it took some time for his last contract to come to fruition back in 2015, and was on the last season of his previous contract at the time of the extension. Anthony Martial also had to put up with a bit of a wait of receiving a contract offer recently, as his previous contract was due to expire at the end of next season.

While United have been seemingly more efficient on Martial’s contract than those of De Gea and Herrera, the leverage was still getting close to being on Martial’s side, as it seems a player has a better chance of getting better wages if the club can obtain them on a free transfer. 

Mix this with the fact that Alexis Sanchez is making around £350,000 a week. This type of strategy is the worst possible one when it comes to putting the players in the leveraging positions, and causing the club to have to pay out a lot more than players would probably be worth realistically.

Players such as Herrera and De Gea would be statistically justified in requesting a salary that is similar to the pay scale that Sanchez is on, and because of this, they are now being wooed with interesting offers from other clubs, that are on that scale. 

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If United want to keep their player’s long term, they will have to end the procrastination when it comes to offering contract extensions to their players. With players being allowed to negotiate pre-contract agreements, players can gain a lot of leverage towards the last year of a contract. 

With United already potentially offloading a few of the ageing and underperforming players this summer, the last thing that the club needs is to lose players that are important to the club, and play a big role within the squad, especially in Herrera’s case, who was a trending potential favourite for the clubs captaincy.

Players like that are the last ones that should be leaving the club, and if Herrera does end up leaving, the calls for changes to the business side of United will only get louder, and the only thing that may fix that mistake in the eyes of fans would probably be a Director of Football being appointed to the club.

Written by Joel Dulka

What does it take to be Manchester United number one and does Sergio Romero have it?

David De Gea is Manchester United’s current number one goalkeeper and is arguably the best keeper in the world also winning Manchester United’s Player of the Year for four out of the last five years. Understandably this has not gone unnoticed with Real Madrid at the forefront of transfer talks.

De Gea has been continuously linked with a move to the La Liga giants since his transfer at the end of the 2015 summer transfer window broke down at the 11th hour and it is no secret that returning manager Zinedine Zidane is a big admirer of the goalkeeper as he looks to rebuild Real Madrid’s first team. United have still not agreed on terms to a contract extension and with De Gea’s current contract ending at the end of the season, many fans are starting to wonder how the club will cope without the Spaniard.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as Sergio Romero, United’s number two is widely argued as the world’s best number two goalkeeper.  The Argentine, who is the Argentina national team’s first choice of goalkeeper, has proven his worth many times over the few years he has been at the club with world class displays against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Valencia. Romero, who was signed by the club in July 2015, was also the starting goalkeeper in all 12 games of United’s successful Europa League campaign facing teams like Ajax and Fenerbahce.

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Goalkeepers are one of the most important players on a football pitch being the last line of defence and the first line of attack and United are renowned for having a world class shot stopper between the posts and have a long list of famous names to prove it.

One of the most famous is the Danish Keeper Peter Schmeichel who was a member of the class of 92 and a big part in the establishment of United as a super-club when he captained them to the treble in 1999 during the Champions League final. He also won UEFA Euro 1992 with Denmark. He is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time and was inducted into the English football’s Hall of Fame for his impact in the game.

The second is United legend Edwin van der Sar who signed for the Red Devils in 2005 and is considered by Sir Alex Ferguson to be the best goalkeeper to have played for the club since Peter Schmeichel. He is best remembered for his penalty save in the 2008 Champions League final to secure the trophy for the club. The Dutchman also holds the record for most clean sheets at the UEFA European Championship with nine clean sheets.

Fabien Barthez is also on the list of world-class keepers that have defended the net for United and is the only goalkeeper for United that has won a World Cup, which he won with France in 1998 and got to the World Cup Final in 2006 after which he retired. During his career he was widely rated by pundits as the best of his generation and one of the best in the world, winning the Premier League twice with United.

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Every single goalkeeper that puts on the gloves for the Red Devils has to be able to play to the highest level in order to reach the expectations of the fans and the club. They need to be able to organise the defence and keep the line organised for the full match as well as having an excellent distribution of the ball in order to start the attack. The better the distribution, the better chance of a goal scoring opportunity.

David De Gea has all these traits as well as lightning fast reflexes that he has proven time and time again. His ability to deal with crosses has greatly improved after showing room for development in his first season at the club. However, when it comes to De Gea and Romero it is commonly a case of anything you can do, I can do just as well with the Argentine easily stepping up to the plate when the manager calls upon him, doing the job well each time.

While De Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, and all United fans will be hoping he stays at the club, they can rest assured knowing that Romero is well and truly up to the job of being De Geas replacement and United’s future number one goalkeeper.

Written by Chris Kaye

copyright: JW