OPINION: Does De Gea Owe Anything to United?

It seems almost definite now that David De Gea will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, and I can’t help asking, where is his loyalty and gratitude?

De Gea came to United a spindly 21-year-old with promise after a decent stint with Atletico Madrid. Even after a fairly unimpressive first season, Fergie stuck by him while the press were castigating United for spending so much on a goalkeeper who seemingly couldn’t stand up to the rigours of the Premier League. Under the guidance of Eric Steel, who learned some Spanish especially for him, and then working with Frans Hoek, De Gea has blossomed into one of the most promising, if not simply one of the best goalkeepers in the world today.

Some people say he should be like Ronaldo, who also came to United so very raw and was honed and turned into the world’s best by Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz, and should at least stay another year. However, at that point he could leave for free when his contract expires – why did no-one at Old Trafford tie up De Gea on a new deal last year, with his contract expiring in 2016? Most clubs and players will renegotiate at that time; did Woodward forget?

Rumour has it that Fergie didn’t put his arm around Ronnie and plead with him to stay another year; I heard that basically he told him he would bench him for a year if he had to, but if he stayed, he would allow him to go to Real with his blessing. Should we do the same with De Gea?

The Dawning of the Age of Avarice?

Was it so long ago that the Class of ’92 were so proud of their Honda Preludes (that were lent to them, not given, as a reward for making the first team)? The only thing they wanted was to play for United. I think most of them would have played for peanuts just to be part of one of Ferguson’s finest teams.

[bctt tweet=”Was it so long ago that the #ClassOf92 were proud of their Honda Preludes?”]

Then there’s the likes of Raheem Sterling, who has basically told Liverpool to forget their offer of £100,000 per week. At 20, he wants to leave – he’s learnt enough. Brendan Rogers has had his generosity and foresight, plucking Sterling from the youth team to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, thrown back in his face for everyone to see.

So who’s to blame for these displays of disloyalty and avarice? It seems that players’ agents are poison these days. They seem to feel they are as big as the players they represent, and are constantly seeking to negotiate that big commission-drenched deal. Are they looking out for their clients’ futures, or busy feathering their own nests? We can deliberate all day.

Who Could Replace De Gea?

So who could we look at to replace De Gea? Poor Victor Valdes – a fine goalkeeper with medals rattling in his locker – had a rather ignominious start at Old Trafford thanks to Tyler Blackett’s deflection against Arsenal. Did United sign him because they knew De Gea was leaving? It seemed at the time a strange signing considering Valdes’ pedigree, and it took an injury to De Gea for him to see any action at all.

The press are reporting that United are also looking at Hugo Lloris from Tottenham, but he won’t be cheap knowing Daniel Levy. Petr Cech is free to leave Chelsea – I wouldn’t mind signing the 32-year-old, but will Mourinho allow him to come to Old Trafford? As for Newcastle’s Tim Krul, Van Gaal knows him well from the national team, but is he world class? The list could go on… Azmir Begovic, Boaz Myhill and even Kaspar Schmeichel, who has done well for Leicester this year, are all touted as potential options.

Clearly, if De Gea does go, we have to find another world class keeper to prevent a repeat of the posse of clowns that kept goal for United between Schmeichel and Van Der Sar. There were 10 in total, and we don’t have Vidic and Ferdinand to protect our defences as we did then.

Stay as the King of Manchester, or Leave to Be Prince of Madrid?

At Real Madrid, meanwhile, Iker Casillas is a held in godlike regard, and has huge influence in the dressing room – just ask Mourinho. So will De Gea get first team football every week? Chicharito went to Madrid in search of first team football; how well did that work out? Casillas has two years to run on his contract and Ancelotti is unlikely to want to spark a power struggle with one of his most influential players.

De Gea should stay for at least two more years, and with a contract worth £200,000 per week, he can afford the flights home to see his girlfriend!

If you are going David, then hasta la vista. Have a great career, but remember, the grass is not always greener.