David De Gea’s future at Manchester United is still very much up in the air. The latest reports suggest the club will offer the goalkeeper another contract despite the Spaniard looking unwilling to sign on the dotted line.
The main bone of contention is essentially the fact that the goalkeeper is looking for parity with Alexis Sanchez, whose £500,000 a week salary has caused some issues in terms of other player’s contracts.
It is not known whether United will eventually give in to De Gea’s demands and effectively double his £240,000 a week wage, but in the meantime, the clock is ticking on his transfer value.
The 28-year-old is a little over six months away from being able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, with United not getting a single penny from his move away from Old Trafford.
Currently, the club’s stance is that they would be prepared to keep him and let him go on a free transfer. We’ve covered whether that is a sensible approach in another article, but today we will discuss the merits of selling him on.
In terms of interested parties, it appears Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus would be the two likeliest destinations, with PSG probably the club that could meet the asking price.
United may use the £88.5m initial fee Chelsea will receive for Eden Hazard from Real Madrid as a potential marker for their own value, but De Gea’s poor form in the second half of the season, and the fact that he is a goalkeeper may lead to a considerably lower fee.
Alisson cost Liverpool £67m with Kepa moving to Chelsea for £72m. Both had multi-year contracts with their existing clubs, while De Gea is reaching his last 12 months. £50m or £60m could, therefore, be a more likely figure to sell up.
Combined with the £12.5m they would save from the Spaniard’s wages, that could give United a sizeable amount to reinvest back into the squad this summer.
Reports indicate, though, that Jan Oblak would not be a target, despite the Slovenian seemingly wanting out of Atletico Madrid. It appears the £100m price tag would put United off, with Ajax’s Andre Onana (who is available for £40m) a more likely option.
If that is indeed United’s plan, there is an argument to be made for keeping Dean Henderson in the squad instead. A young goalkeeper, like Onana, who has shown tremendous promise out on loan at Sheffield United.
Combined with an experienced number two in Sergio Romero, the pair could well offer a suitable solution to the goalkeeping problem while using any money from a De Gea sale to spend on a centre-back like Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
It is believed the Serie A side won’t sell for less than £133m this summer. It’s excessive but United must strengthen at centre-back and he would be the standout candidate.
Keeping De Gea and failing to improve the defence would leave the club in the same predicament as it is now. It may not be as clearcut as that, but recruiting centre-backs rather than a De Gea replacement would be the priority.
The fact the club are in the Europa League, and not the Champions League, means United may have to overspend to get the best players, and the likes of Koulibaly or De Ligt won’t come cheap. If some sacrifices are needed to get them in, the club should bite the bullet and make it happen.