Let’s face it, it has been another season to forget for Manchester United so far.
It’s not to say that it could all end well. United still have the chance of two trophies and a Champions League place, but in the land of reality, the red half of Manchester could be lamenting on what if’s, as another resoundingly unsuccessful year draws ever nearer to a close.
Fingers will be pointed at van Gaal and his dismal approach to the beautiful game, to the relentlessly boring football and to the methodology of playing good players out of position.
United have picked up on occasions recently, but even lately, their form has been uninspired, leaderless and insipid to say the least. It certainly wouldn’t have happened under Fergie. The hairdryer would have been in constant use this season.
Apart from finger pointing at the manager, many plaudits have been aimed towards David De Gea. The goalkeeper is one of only a few players that can hold their head high and if it wasn’t for De Gea, United would be kicking about with Aston Villa.
You could say that the Spaniard has been worth over 20 points for his club and that has kept Manchester United within shouting distance of a top four finish, but not the title.
The fact that the Spaniard is still a United player is quite something. Last summer, amid much finger pointing between Real Madrid and United, all efforts to leave Old Trafford were in vain, as all sorts of reasons were given as to the mix-up between two of Europe’s greatest clubs.
However, since then, De Gea has signed a new contract and has knuckled down to his job. In an interview with Sky Sports, the 25-year-old Spanish international was asked about his situation at the club. He said: “I’m happy, I’m enjoying it and I believe in the team.”
With a defence that has looked like the Keystone Cops at times, De Gea has had to be at his best and a few months ago, club Captain Wayne Rooney said: “You can score as many goals as you want, but if you keep conceding goals, then it’s a problem.
“We have to keep trying to get that balance right and keep creating chances, scoring goals and keeping them out.”
Like many teams, United have had their fair share of injuries and have struggled to maintain a settled back line, but Dea Gea and Martial have been the difference in a lacklustre Manchester United team. With this in mind however, keeping hold of the young keeper could be a problem.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain have since reportedly joined Madrid in the chase for De Gea, who signed a new contract in September.
While United are hopeful of keeping the 25-year-old at Old Trafford, the club are considering alternatives and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is supposedly a top target after informal contact with the player revealed that he would be willing to leave the Nou Camp in search of first-team action.
How much of a say De Gea will have over whether he stays or whether he goes is anyone’s guess, but at this point of the season, without David De Gea, United would be in a very much worse state of affairs.