The 24 year-old’s shot-stopping displays – particularly against Everton and Liverpool – have been nothing short of miraculous at times, but consequentially, the former Atletico star is now being lured back to the Spanish capital by Real Madrid – a club almost irrefusable to the top stars in world football.
With just under 18 months remaining on his current Old Trafford contract, United will struggle to hold onto the Spain international this summer unless they tie him down to extended terms. La Liga correspondent Guillem Balage, however, believes even that might not be enough to keep De Gea from the clutches of the European champions.
So with that in mind, here’s five star-studded goalies capable of replacing United’s No.1, that the 13-time Premier League champions would be wise to consider.
The desired pick of the tabloids to replace David De Gea, there’s been a wave of reports linking Manchester United with a bid for Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris since rumours of the Spaniard’s desire to join Real Madrid first sprouted.
The Spurs No.1 is certainly amongst the English top flight’s best, making the fourth-most saves of Premier League keeper this term, 69 in 26 appearances, and resultantly the most of any goalie in the top six – although his return of just six clean sheets it somewhat less inspiring.
Having served as France captain since 2012, the 28 year-old’s capacity to play at a higher level, in addition to his maturity and leadership qualities, remains without doubt, whilst his enthralling shot-stopping style certainly parodies De Gea’s servitude from the last few seasons.
Add in his famed trait of effective sweeper keeping, the speed to come off his line and the confidence to distribute the ball efficiently, and we’re arguably looking at the best goalkeeper currently outside of the Champions League.
Resultantly however, Spurs will want a huge fee for their star goalie if they’re to sell to a Premier League rival, especially after signing a five-year contract extension during the summer, and The Express have resultantly valued him at the £25million mark.
A three-time title winner, a three-time Golden Glove winner and a two-time member of the PFA Team of the Year, Chelsea’s Petr Cech is undoubtedly one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, but unfortunately finds himself stuck behind a prodigious talent set to dominate the goalkeeping scene for the next decade in Thibaut Courtois.
The Czech international, who now boasts 331 top flight outings for the Blues and eleven trophies, including the 2011/12 Champions League title, rejected the opportunity to leave Stamford Bridge last month but will almost certainly at the end of the season when his contract enters its final year.
There are perhaps more exciting goalies than Cech plying their trade today, but that understated, unspectacular style is what makes him such a dominant force between the sticks and an eternally calming influence for those around him.
Despite the former Rennes man’s incredible experience, he’s still got plenty of years ahead of him at 32 years of age – relatively young in goalkeeping terms – and can certainly fill the void David De Gea looks set to leave behind.
The Telegraph claim he could be available for just £7million this summer, mooting Arsenal as his likeliest suitors. But whether Chelsea would be prepared to sell one of the world’s best goalkeepers to another English club, and whether Cech would actually want to represent one after spending a decade in west London, remains to be seen.
Mattia Perin may lack the European and international level experience of some of the alternative goalkeepers on this list, but he’s unequivocally the most promising goalkeeping talent Serie A currently has to offer, with many comparing him to Juventus’ legendary Italian World Cup winner Gigi Buffon.
High praise indeed but the 22 year-old is already living up to his audacious moniker, last season making the fifth-most saves of any ‘keeper in Serie A and this term leading the way with an incredible 70 in just 23 appearances. That ranks him fourth throughout Europe’s top five leagues.
Measuring in at just 6 foot 2 and with his distribution at a harrowingly low 53% this season, the Italian international, who received his first senior cap in November 2014, still has a number of weaknesses to address before he’s fully up to Manchester United standard.
But the Genoa starlet is a raw young talent and an incredible shot-stopper, and in that regard draws many parallels with the less consistent, lesser-rounded David De Gea Manchester United purchased from Atletico Madrid back in 2011.
Perin remains a punt but if United’s coaching staff can develop him to the same effect as the Spaniard, they could soon have yet another world-class goalkeeper between their sticks.
After setting the Bundesliga ablaze with his superfluous performances for Borussia Monchengladbach over the last three seasons, last term recording an incredible 91 saves in 34 appearances and keeping nine clean sheets – the fourth-best return in the division – many expected Marc-Andre ter Stegen to become Barcelona’s No.1 upon signing for them during the summer.
The 22 year-old has been stuck behind Claudo Bravo in the pecking order this season however, although he’s currently the Nou Camp outfit’s first pick for Champions League matches, and admitted in January that he’s already grown disillusioned with his secondary role for the La Liga giants.
At 6 foot 1, the four-cap Germany international is surprisingly short compared to modern goalkeeping standards. But he once shattered his two front teeth practicing one-one-ones in training, giving you an insight into ter Stegen’s determined character and aggressive goalkeeping style, somewhat similar to Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.
Last season, ter Stegen was rated as one of the top goalkeeping prospects in world football – so taking him off Barcelona’s hands amid the current ambiguity over his role could prove to be an incredibly shrewd move for the Red Devils.
That being said, Barcelona’s three-window transfer ban, that would disallow them to officially sign the Mannschaft prodigy’s replacement until 2016, could stand in the way.
Building upon the promising reputation gained from his Champions League heroics for Celtic, particularly during their infamous giant-killing of Barcelona during 2012/13, for whom he also claimed four consecutive SPL Golden Gloves and two consecutive Parkhead Player of the Year awards, Fraser Forster has thoroughly excelled since joining Southampton last summer, going on to record the most clean sheets of any Premier League goalkeeper this season with twelve in 26 appearances.
The influence of the Saints’ water-tight defence should not be overlooked, but the 26 year-old has also recorded 50 saves – many of which have been of the highest quality and against the Premier League’s top sides.
Combine that with an imposing, aerially dominant 6 foot 7 frame, and England could finally have a goalkeeper worthy of contesting Joe Hart for the No.1 jersey.
A move to Manchester United would only aid Forster in that rivalry whilst also ensuring further experience in the Champions League. But after their wholesale exodus last summer, Southampton have proved their ability to drive the hardest of bargains for their top stars – which now includes the former Newcastle youngster.
Having signed him only a matter of months ago, they could outright refuse to sell Forster this summer.