Dan Pettit reports on an accidental coup de maitre at Old Trafford.
It was billed as the biggest transfer of the summer between two of the games biggest clubs in Manchester United and Real Madrid, the last transfer between these two clubs was the £80 million transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest as they say was history.
Despite both clubs agreeing on a fee and Manchester United securing Keylor Navas the deal fell apart at the 11th hour, with many suggesting that United hadn’t sent the paperwork on time. Having not played any game time this season and seeing his dream move collapse, De Gea was surely in limbo.
However just ten short days after the collapsed deal to Madrid, the 24 year old keeper completed a remarkable turnaround by signing a new deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2019.
For me keeping De Gea was United’s best transfer business of the summer, they have not only kept but managed to extend the goalkeepers contract, meaning that even if they do sell next summer they are sure to receive a fee that a keeper of his calibre deserves. His performance against Southampton this weekend has again justified his standing as one of the best keepers in the world, and at 24 he still has a long and bright future ahead of him.
He made six saves in the 3-2 thriller at Saint Mary’s, it is the most he has made in a Premier League game since his man of the match performance against Liverpool in December 2014. The instinctive save to keep out Jose Fonte’s header was the best of the bunch, although he made crucial saves to keep out reported summer target Saido Mane and Victor Wanyama as well.
The Spaniard has already saved United 2 points this season and if his performances last year are anything to go by he will be just as crucial again this season, for United I fear he is irreplaceable.
He enjoyed a stellar 2014/15 campaign where he won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award for the second season running under Louis Van Gaal, again it was truly inconceivable that United could have parted company with him for a meagre sum. There aren’t many better options out there even if the transfer fee he could go for is sizeable, with Lloris and Cillissen linked but neither have the world class pedigree of De Gea.
The other beneficiary of the collapsed deal is the Costa Rica international goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who recently revealed that he never wanted to leave Madrid and that his hand had been forced by the impending De Gea transfer. Navas has clearly used this to his advantage and produced a string of fine displays and produced five cleans sheets, four in La Liga and one in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk. He’ll be hoping that a fine personal season will be enough to secure his long term future at the club, it is unlikely that Real will decided against pursuing De Gea again next summer.
Florentino Perez is reportedly keen on boosting the Madrid born entity within the playing squad and given that De Gea played for Atletico between the ages of 15 and 18 he qualifies as a home grown player for Real. Also at 24 he provides longevity and the idea that a ready made replacement for Casillas that can represent both Real Madrid and Spain between the sticks is a mouth watering prospect.
De Gea’s ability to regularly produce world class performances mean that Navas may be fighting against the clock himself, even an excellent season filled with trophies may not be enough to prevent a similar situation arising next season.
Both United fans and Navas will be hoping that is not the case.