In terms of transfer U-turns, we’ve just witnessed one of the most dramatic twists of events in recent memory. Despite a summer of fluttering his eyelashes at Real Madrid before agreeing a late move, David de Gea has signed a new contract with Manchester United. Who saw this coming?
Even when ‘paperwork-gate’ struck on transfer deadline day it was widely suggested that the goalie would simply see out the remainder of his Red Devils deal before completing a Bosman move to the Bernabeu, with the possibility of a pre-contract agreement in January alive.
Alas, De Gea has committed, and here are FIVE reasons we think the 24-year-old has made the right call…
With EURO 2016 looming on the horizon, the last thing De Gea needed was a transitional season. Despite Iker Casillas’ woes over the course of the past few years, the experienced stopper remains Spain’s No.1, but his move to Porto could change that. Although he’s at a top club, the Portuguese game is not at the same level as La Liga or the Premier League, so there’s every chance he could be overlooked by the time La Roja travel to France.
De Gea is the next in line to take the position, but he needs to be playing regularly to maintain the sort of form that kicked off debate about his suitability to be the main man between the sticks for the reigning European champions.
Should he have kept agitating for a move to Real Madrid then there was every chance Louis van Gaal would have forced him to stay in the stands – the Dutchman has a reputation for being stubborn – while a seemingly unlikely January move to the Bernabeu would have thrown up the chance of a rocky start to life in a ‘new’ league – he has played for Atletico Madrid before – with little time remaining before the tournament.
Did they? The Spaniards chased De Gea all summer so surely if a club of Los Blancos’ stature REALLY wanted him a deal would have happened. After all, they’ve signed the likes of Luis Figo from Barcelona in the past, which was a deal that was much more controversial.
The club’s move for Kiko Casilla also had a ‘we’ll wait until next summer’ vibe to it, with the former Espanyol man a solid, if unspectacular performer. Perhaps ‘paperwork-gate’ was all just a ploy to convince De Gea that they did want him, but on a free transfer.
With the transfer window now closed and his Real move having collapsed, De Gea has already been welcomed back into first-team training by Louis van Gaal, hinting that he’ll be the No.1 at Old Trafford.
Let’s face it, with only Sergio Romero and Sam Johnstone as challengers – Victor Valdes appears to be set to rot away in the reserves – as long as De Gea is playing at even 50% of his true capability, he’ll be nailed-on to start every week.
However, if he did opt to join Real either in January or next summer, he’d have been competing with Keylor Navas and Casilla, who are two decent level goalies while attempting to adjust to a new team and new manager.
Reports suggest that United have handed De Gea a whopping £200,000-per-week to stay at Old Trafford. Such a sum is surely enough to soften the blow of having to spend another four/five years away from his home city and popstar girlfriend, Edurne Garcia.
Wages of the mooted level also show United’s commitment to De Gea, whom they would be making the highest paid goalkeeper on the planet.
Despite the summer saga, United fans still love De Gea. The Spaniard was the difference between Champions League qualification and serious question marks last season, with his heroics between the sticks as consistent as they were impressive.
Should he have joined Real instead, there will be some sections of supporters who would have it hard to get fully on board with the idea of him playing in goal at the Bernabeu thanks to his Atletico Madrid roots.