David de Gea
Wikimedia Commons/ Кирилл Венедиктов

David de Gea leaves Manchester United

After 12 years at Old Trafford, it has been confirmed that goalkeeper David de Gea will be leaving the club following his contract expiration.

His future has been the subject of speculation for months, with Manchester United offering de Gea a salary on reduced wages, before the club removed that offer. It then asked de Gea to take a further pay cut.

The contradictory approach of contract offers from United over the last couple of months has soured the ending for one of the club’s greatest ever goalkeepers. One of the club’s best servants will depart without having an opportunity to say his goodbyes to the fans.

He ends his United career as their seventh-highest appearance maker, with 545 appearances, during which he won the Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League and two Carabao Cups.

Trophies do not vindicate the performances of the Spaniard, who won both the ‘Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year’ (voted for by fans) and Players’ Player of the Year awards four times during his spell at the club.

Last season, de Gea also won his second Premier League Golden Glove award since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011. The award is given to the goalkeeper who has kept the most clean sheets. De Gea kept 17.

Despite an impressive clean sheet haul, Erik ten Hag was seeking to move on from de Gea and bring in a ‘modern’ goalkeeper, which increasingly looks set to be his former Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

As his United career ends, he will rank just behind Schmeichel and van der Sar as one of United’s greatest ever goalkeepers

De Gea remains a goalkeeper capable of making elite saves, but high-profile mistakes have plagued him for several years and the criticisms persisted as the season ended.

A disappointing 1-0 loss at the London Stadium was pinned on de Gea. He will still be having nightmares from that night in Sevilla. Gundogan’s FA Cup final winner does not make for kind viewing for the Spaniard.

The list of important, potentially trophy-costing mistakes over the past seasons does not stop there.

Although United finished third in the league, there are those at Old Trafford who feel their goalkeeper was a key reason for ending the season with the Carabao Cup as their sole trophy.

Errors and limited distribution have shifted de Gea from being United’s player of the season in years gone by, to one which ten Hag viewed to be holding his side back.

Despite an ambivalent campaign at Old Trafford, the overriding emotion towards the departing goalkeeper remains positive.

He was an exceptional goalkeeper for United for several years; the shining light throughout the reigns of van Gaal and Mourinho. As his United career ends, he will rank just behind Schmeichel and van der Sar as one of United’s greatest ever goalkeepers.

Although it is now time for him to be moved on, there will be fond memories of his time at the club.


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