Manchester United: Losing David De Gea Shows How Weak The Team Is
Manchester United’s David de Gea continues to dither over a new £200,000-a-week contact (well, so says the Times; the same contract is valued at £140,000-a-week in the Daily Mirror).
The Daily Telegraph says Manchester United are making moves for De Gea’s replacement, and Chelsea’s Peter Cech is in the frame.
Mark Ogden says Cech is on Louis van Gaal’s “short-list of targets” to replace the Real Madrid-bound Spanish stopper. The Times says Hugo Lloris, of Tottenham Hotspur, and Samir Handanovic, of Inter Milan, are also on that ‘list’. Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny isn’t on it.
The list is a preditcable one. If right, it suggests United have lost the boldness that saw Sir Alex Ferguson spend £18.3m on replacing the superb Edwin van der Sar with the 20-year-old De Gea, a lazy matchstick who had never played in England before and hardly spoke a word of English.
Those early months at United saw De Gea slaughtered in the Press.
Ferguson stood by his man:
“It seems to me people are desperate for the boy to fail. That’s the impression I get and I don’t understand it. It’s not his age because they never did that with Cech when he came… There’s a lot that he has had to deal with and he’s showing a lot of composure. He is 20 and coming into a country where he doesn’t know the culture. He doesn’t speak English, he’s been looking for a house and he’s found one now; he’s been learning to drive in England.”
De Gea has come a long way at United. But United have changed. No longer Ferguson’s confident title winners, United are now throwing cash at big names and hoping enough of it sticks.
De Gea had what the current team do not: time and Ferguson’s assured way. As he said last year:
“I don’t think people appreciate just how hard it was for me coming to a new country at that age and a different type of football. I knew I had to become bigger physically. You can see now I look different to when I first came here. I have much more muscle. In training the players would deliberately hit high balls into me and barge into me so I would get used to that side of the English game. I actually enjoy the physical side of it all now.”
So. Why leave Old Trafford? The reasoning for any departure is that De Gea wants a return to his home city, where his popstar girlfriend, Edurne García Almagro, is based.
Van Gaal has been widely quoted:
“When we have a very good scouting commission then we shall already know who shall be the next goalkeeper. We also have a list of goalkeepers who can replace him [De Gea], because we have to be organised always. Not only for that position but for every position. We want him to stay and I hope he shall sign. You have three parties and the most important party is always the player. It [De Gea’s future] is dependent not on Manchester United, not on me, because we want him to sign. He has to sign, he has to want to stay here at Manchester United. I don’t know [why he has not made a decision].”
So Cech to Manchester United? The player’s agent, Viktor Kolar, says it might be on:
“We have been permitted by Chelsea to negotiate with interested parties. Petr has confirmed his interest to play regularly at a top club. That’s the task that we are now working on. But other than that, there has not been any other change in terms of Petr Cech’s employment and the transfer period only begins on 1 July.”
Maybe. Because the Daily Mail says De Gea has agreed to join Real Madrid for £4m-a-year after tax.
If De Gea leaves he will be big loss to United. As Rob Dawson notes in the Manchester Evening News:
Some of his performances this season have been extraordinary and he, more than anyone else, will be responsible for United playing Champions League football next year.
Right enough. United cannot afford to sell their best players, especially one whose performances have masked many of his team’s errors.