The news that David De Gea is set to sign a new five-year contract with Manchester United is as important as any signing that we make this summer.
United had the second best defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding just 28 goals. How many points has he saved us throughout that campaign alone?
A goalkeeper of De Gea’s quality is worth at least 12-15 points a season and United would have been even further behind City if it were not for some of his efforts in goal; no doubt.
Since joining United from Athletico Madrid in 2011, he has gone on to make over 300 appearances for the club and has become, in my view, the most important player in the squad.
It is no secret that the Spaniard found the transition to life in England difficult in the beginning: “Sometimes it was difficult when you get a lot of criticism like I did”, said the United shot-stopper in an interview from 2014. He was written off by many from the outset as he struggled for form and match fitness.
Then in the 2013/14 season, De Gea won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the year, becoming the first goalkeeper to win the award. He went on to win the award again in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season, becoming the first United player to win the award in consecutive seasons.
Moreover, he won it again this year and has been named in the PFA team of the year for the fourth year straight year. Not bad for a guy who was once described by Jamie Redknapp as a man that needed to ‘grow into his clothes’.
It has long been suggested that a great goalkeeper makes a team great. If United are to win the top prizes, it is imperative that we tie De Gea down to new long-term contract. Similarly, if United are to wrestle the league back from City’s grasp, we cannot afford to lose him. It’s that simple. He offers a sense of calm and assurance to our defence which, let’s face it, very often needs it.
And, with Michael Carrick retiring, I think De Gea is the standout candidate to replace him as captain. I think it would prove to be a great choice. He is adored by the fans and is a very popular member of the dressing room who undoubtedly has the respect of all the players.
Time and time again, he has illustrated why he is the best goalkeeper in the world at this moment in time: the point-blank save from Jese’s volley at Stoke, the save with his leg to deny Matip at Anfield, that double save at the Emirates in December to thwart Lacazette and Sanchez. I could go on. He is outstanding. Priceless. Indispensable.
I, for one, am happy that United’s fax machine was dodgy in 2015. We all want De Gea to go on and become a legend at the club. Let’s hope that De Gea signs a new long-term deal and ends this Real Madrid rumour once and for all.
Write-up by Jimmy Williams, @RedDevilPress_ on Twitter.