David De Gea is available on a free transfer next season with United standing firm at present
Jean-Marc Bosman. Who’d have thought in the build up to December 15th 1995 at the European Court of Justice that the freedom of movement for players would change forever – with footballers now having the ability to run down their contract and leave for nothing at the end of their agreement. Edgar Davids and Steve Mcmanaman were two of the early adopters as they left Ajax and Liverpool for AC Milan and Real Madrid, respectively, for absolutely nothing. The clubs that had nurtured their talents since they were kids would not receive a penny for their efforts.
Manchester United are now, and have been for some time, in a dilemma over David De Gea. Should United let David De Gea go for a cut down fee based upon the duration of his current deal OR should United stick two fingers up at Real Madrid and keep De Gea for one more season? Surely, if United are to challenge for honours next season, it has to be the latter.
David De Gea was Manchester United’s best player by a considerable distance as he helped Louis van Gaal and co to a fourth place finish and subsequent Champions League qualification. Real Madrid have been pursuing United’s number one for some time now and with Iker Casillas leaving the Bernabeu for FC Porto, the time would seem perfect for De Gea to return to the city of his birth and play for the most successful club in European Cup history. The issue is, Madrid are trying to get De Gea on the cheap, thinking United will collapse in negotiations at the thought of losing the player for nothing next summer. United have actually done the opposition and put in a bid for unhappy Sergio Ramos. The general message is “if you want De Gea now, Ramos comes to us”.
Ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez now occupies the post that Sir Alex Ferguson always suggested he pursued – Real Madrid boss – has said that Ramos isn’t for sale and will remain at the club next season. He has also recently stated that Madrid are well equipped and have sufficient cover in goal with the recent signing of Kiko Casilla from Espanyol. So, which is it? Are United playing games or are Real Madrid? It appears that both are, but Madrid are the underdogs in this poker battle at present.
De Gea is the natural successor to Iker Casillas, for both club and country. Casillas, who could be compared to a mid-40s party girl who simply will not leave the dance floor despite her better days behind her, made the life of Diego Lopez hell when he was dropped from the 1st team squad a few seasons ago. It was essential that Casillas was out of the picture to pave the way for United’s number one. The issue is, United are digging their heels in, ensuring that the second best side in Spain, based upon last season’s performance, will not throw their weight around and expect to get the player on the cheap.
With United’s new kit deal with Adidas, there is some significant clout behind United this season and selling David De Gea would be a step backwards. We wrote back in February the need United have to hold on to their keeper to send out the right message. If United were to sell De Gea to Madrid as soon as they came calling, United can’t be seen to compete with Europe’s elite.
Many rivals fans may point to the fact that United may have adopted a similar approach when pursuing players in the past. For example, Tottenham fans would look at pursuit of Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov. However, both players would cost United nearly £50million in transfer fees. Daniel Levy did what was best for his club and got the best deal he could for a player who wanted to leave. De Gea appears to be torn between heading to his ideal club or to stay with the club where he is adored and has grown into the best keeper in Europe. If many reds believe I’m exaggerating regarding his desire to play for Real Madrid – then you only have to look at the fact as to why he hasn’t signed a new contract agreement yet. United’s keeper is, reportedly, still on £60,000 since he signed for the club in 2011 – far less than he is worth considering what other players are paid at the club.
De Gea is loved by United fans. The chants of “David De Gea” ring around Old Trafford every match day – from the penalty save against Robin van Persie in the 8-2 victory over Arsenal back in 2011 right up to the amazing display against Everton and Liverpool at home last season. He is an unbelievable keeper. Great shot stopped, excellent positioning, bravery and his distribution is up there with former keeper – Edwin van Der Sar. Real Madrid fans can be a little bit Michael Gove when assessing their players. Despite the brilliance of Zidane, Ronaldo and Figo – all players were subjected to the white hanky brigade and have been criticised at some point during their time at the club. David De Gea was subjected to ridicule in his early days at United, but Ferguson was excellent in defending his young starlet, resting him for certain games but ensuring he was gaining value experience, which has been the blueprint of where he is at today.
United fans know how difficult it is to get a top class goalkeeper. In between Peter Schmeichel, who I still consider to be the best goalkeeper I have ever seen, and Edwin van Der Sar – United’s goal was kept mainly by Mark Bosnich, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Tim Howard and Roy Carroll. Mistakes, gaffs and the inability to command United’s goal ensured that in the summer of 2005, Ferguson bought the Dutchman to Old Trafford – something he said he should have done in the summer of 1999, but van Der Sar was already on his way to Juventus. Hugo Lloris, who is currently recovering from injury, will command a hefty transfer fee – which will surely surpass the value Real Madrid will want to fork out for this summer.
Manchester United should hang on to David De Gea and send a message to Florentino Perez, Real Madrid and their white hanky waving fans and the rest of Europe. Following a season in European Football purgatory, England’s most successful club is back competing on the biggest stage of them all. If De Gea would leave the club in the July of next summer – then so be it, but for now, United have an superb keeper and a developing team. It would appear the transfer business of Louis van Gaal is not done quite yet – hopefully David De Gea isn’t part of it.