David De Gea has risen to become Manchester United’s most important player
David De Gea has risen from a promising youngster to one of the best goalkeepers in the world game. Long gone are suggestions that the Premier League is “too physical” for the Spaniard or that he “flaps at crosses” following a string of wonderful displays that have won Manchester United a vast amount of points in what is a Champions League spot chasing season.
This is of course a far cry from nervous looking displays when De Gea left Atletico Madrid for the then English champions in the summer of 2011. United’s number one, who was replacing the legendary Edwin van der Sar – who bowed out in the European Cup final defeat at the hands of Barcelona at Wembley, had a torrid time at the Hawthorns on his Premier League debut – with many, quite moronically, writing him off at such a premature stage.
Since then he has become such an important player for United, so what message would it send out if indeed he were to be sold in the summer to Real Madrid? Louis van Gaal must do everything in his power to ensure his prized asset remains a United player for the foreseeable future.
It makes total sense for Real Madrid. Club captain Iker Casillas is entering his thirty fourth year and has been linked heavily with a move to the MLS despite being an iconic figure for Madrid since lifting the 2000 European Cup, which saw Madrid hammer Valencia 3-0. Time can take its toll and Real Madrid’s number one was found out a number of times at the World Cup and in La Liga. De Gea has only had three caps for the national team but is of course rightly regarded as the natural successor to Casillas at international level, but some in Madrid believe it will also be at club level.
It also makes sense for the Glazers. Buy a young talent, develop the player and sell him for a hefty fee. Ronaldo was bought for £12 million and sold for £80 million. David De Gea would surely command a fee in the region of £40 million and considering his age, would be a great investment for Madrid. There is of course the suggestion that Madrid will look to buy De Gea in the summer of 2016, for free, when his contract expires. United are in a bit of a sticky situation and van Gaal needs to get a long term contract in place. Even if it does include a minimum release fee clause, which is being reported this evening.
The signing of Victor Valdes as De Gea’s understudy raised eyebrows and doesn’t bode well for United fans keen to keep the current number one. Valdes, who played understudy to the man Madrid want De Gea to replace, has won every single club honour in the game and at the age of 33, despite overcoming a serious injury, will feel he has a lot to offer and will not be satisfied with a place on the bench, despite recent comments praising his fellow countryman. Any professional player, even Anderson, wants to play football and will not be content to sit on the bench forever more.
De Gea is worth every penny of a long term deal, providing his head hasn’t already been turned in the direction of the city of his birth. In the past two decades, United fans have witnessed arguably the greatest keeper of the modern era in Peter Schmeichel and more recently, Edwin van der Sar, whose distribution of the football has obviously inspired De Gea. In between, United fans endured some calamity keeping with Fabian Barthez (although, the Frenchman have a very decent debut season), Massimo Taibi and Roy Carroll taking centre stage.
De Gea has grown into a confident keeper, always an exceptional shot stopper but now has the ability to stay big and make it very difficult for the attacker. Raheem Sterling should have scored past De Gea after a mistake by Evans. No one could have faulted De Gea had the Liverpool forward rounded him and tucked in a gift of a goal. De Gea stayed big, anticipated his movement and kept his clean sheet.
Again on Saturday against Leicester, Phil Jones’ poor back pass allowed David Nugent some space to get a goal back, but De Gea read it and saved his defense again. Lastly, not to forget the almost certain goal for Jack Wilshere at The Emirates, when De Gea stood up tall and thwarted the Arsenal midfielder.
No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, or the lip service being offered by the current European Champions, but United must do everything in their power to keep the Spaniard at Old Trafford. By selling De Gea, United would be seen as an unambitious outfit, who cannot retain their best talent when offers come knocking – a message no major club wants to send out.
Being back in the Champions League will of course boost the profile of the club again and can also help to lure some quality players in the summer. Lets just hope those players join a Manchester United with De Gea as number one, having signed a long term contract.