David De Gea has been a fantastic servant for Manchester United, there can be no doubt about that, but this summer is likely to be a crossroads in the Spaniard’s career.
He has spent almost eight years at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League during his time in Manchester.
However, this season has been his most difficult in a United shirt since the teething problems he encountered during his first campaign at the club.
At times, he has looked like his imperious self but on others, he has looked a pale shadow of what we have come to expect from him. Many pundits have tried to find reasons for why De Gea has dropped his standards so significantly this season.
The one that has been broached most often is that his contract situation is playing on his mind. The 28-year-old has just one year left on his current deal and has yet to sign a new one.
Reports in the local media suggest De Gea hasn’t decided whether to commit to the club for the long term. Paris Saint-Germain are said to be the club most likely to make an offer for him if he were to decide to leave.
However, it appears United may opt to keep him even if his wish is to move on. On the one hand, you can understand the thinking. Losing one of the few truly world-class players at the club would be a tremendous blow.
It would be very difficult to replace such a commanding presence between the sticks, especially as there are so many other areas of the pitch that need strengthening this summer as well.
Still, keeping a player against his will and allowing him to leave on a free transfer doesn’t make much sense, both on or off the pitch. Having an unhappy player in the squad is disruptive for one thing, and losing out on millions just for an extra 12 months doesn’t seem prudent financially.
The key for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the United backroom team is to try and convince De Gea that what they are planning for the future is worth sticking around for.
At the moment, the club seems to be drifting and unable to find direction. Offer the Spaniard a progressive, forward-thinking vision of the future, and with the right contract offer, the keeper will surely sign on the dotted line and get back to what he does best.