This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on talkSPORT, former England international Danny Mills has applauded Manchester United’s reported decision to hand David de Gea a new contract this summer.
Reports in recent weeks have claimed that the Spain international is on the verge of putting pen to paper on a new deal that would see him become the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world.
Despite fellow talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan lambasting the reported contract offer, Mills suggested that United are doing the right thing, and that they will be getting value for money.
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He said: “De Gea only made a couple of mistakes at the World Cup, but that happens from time to time. He hasn’t been playing in a fantastic side and if you look at the saves he’s made and his quality.
“Most players would have thrown their toys out of the pram at that stage, but he didn’t, he came back, knuckled down, worked incredibly hard and was then their next player for the next three or four seasons.
“It’s smidge under £20m a year, and if you’re going to replace De Gea right now with a top quality keeper that’s going to cost you north of £60m. So they’ve almost got an outstanding goalkeeper for nothing for the next six years.”
In years gone by, there could not be any dispute that De Gea was amongst the best goalkeepers in the world, let alone the Premier League. But after a seriously underwhelming campaign by his standards, the decision to hand De Gea a new deal is questionable.
Perhaps what is just as eyebrow-raising is what this whole situation means for United’s highly-promising England U21 international Dean Henderson. The shot-stopper had a formidable campaign in between the sticks for Sheffield United, as the Blades secured the joint-best defensive record in the Championship.
At 22, Henderson still has plenty of time on his hands but what message does it send to the young goalkeeper when he sees a below-par De Gea handed a bumper new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford for the next six years? How on earth does he see a clear path into the United first-team now? United’s reported decision could have major ramifications not just for their wage bill, but for the future of one of their most talented prospects too.