It is not the best compliment for a club to hear that their goalkeeper has been their best player but this has been the case for Manchester United this season. Early injuries to numerous players particularly at the back left the Red Devils shaky and easily breached, meaning that David de Gea was, at times, the only man stopping the squad from receiving a mauling.
The Spaniard, who joined United in 2011 for £17.8million, has appeared in all 36 of their league games leaving no space for the club’s other keepers Anders Lindegaard and January signing Victor Valdes. Valdes probably expected to have played at least a few games by now but that is how good De Gea has been for the Red Devils who just aren’t prepared to entrust their goal with anyone else.
De Gea’s heroics have not gone unnoticed with Real Madrid huge admirers of the young man and they are expected to offer United a massive sum to take the player off their hands. Born in Madrid, though a supporter of city rivals Atletico Madrid, De Gea is seen as the perfect replacement for Iker Casillas who has become less reliable for Los Blancos and has himself been linked with a move to Arsenal.
Many Spanish players who ply their trade in the Premier League do eventually succumb to the irresistible allure of one of Spain’s top two clubs so it must be causing some anxiety for United supporters that Real are so fixated on claiming one of their most outstanding talents. Fortunately United are almost certain to be playing in the Champions League next year so if De Gea does leave, it will not be because the club couldn’t provide the European football that all top players crave.
Next season will be a big test for the club. After just scrapping into the top four despite the many millions they spent on world-class talents like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, United must prove in their next campaign that they are title contenders. Teams like Arsenal, Manchester City and this year’s winners Chelsea will be right in the mix once again and will not make the feat any easier. That is why the club need their world-class keeper.
Manager Louis van Gaal will dip once again into the transfer market with emphasis on signing a striker but if De Gea were to leave then the club would have to commit to bringing in a top goalkeeper which is no easy task. The goalkeepers they have are decent but would not have kept United in contention for the top four like the Spaniard has. In contrast Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois has made 72 saves while De Gea has been called into action a massive 91 times, the busiest of the top four’s goalkeepers.
A great goalie is worth his weight in gold and so no matter how much Real Madrid offer United should not accept it. Instead they need to lock De Gea down to a lucrative long-term contract and hope that the future expected success of the club will be enough to keep the Spaniard loyal for many years to come.