David de Gea has undoubtedly been Manchester United’s best goalkeeper this decade. He has shown his world-class abilities in goal and has won the player of the season four times in the past six years. Despite this, his form has fallen recently. The De Gea conundrum of whether to cash in on him or hope his form recovers is an interesting one and one which is very difficult to answer.
The David de Gea Conundrum at Manchester United
World Cup 2018
After a fantastic 2017/18 season, in which he won both the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award and the Premier League Golden Glove, David de Gea went into the World Cup full of confidence.
The Spaniard had it tough before the tournament even kicked off, with the team sacking their manager just 24 hours before its commencement. Despite this, they started strong, with two wins in their first three games. De Gea, however, did not begin the tournament so well.
After a solid performance and clean sheet, against Tunisia in their first match of the tournament, the most difficult group game was on the horizon. Portugal. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes made for a menacing attack. The Portuguese national team were 2-1 up, but with Spain looking to get back into the game, anything was possible. On the verge of half-time, Ronaldo opted for a shot from the edge of the box, but it went straight at the goalkeeper, making for an easy save…Or not.
De Gea let the ball seemingly go right through his body, allowing Portugal to get the scoreline to 3-1. Spain brought it back to 3-3, however that was a scare for the Spanish number one, and a sign of what was to come.
Spain crashed out in the round of 16, losing to host nation Russia in a penalty shootout. De Gea saved none of the spot-kicks taken against him, while his Russian counterpart Igor Akinfeev saved two. This was the start of the Spaniard’s slump of bad form, one which he still has not gotten out of.
Mistakes in the Premier League
De Gea’s mistakes have not been limited to national duty. This season, he has made errors that have led to a goal between the sticks for his club, United.
From letting it slip straight through his gloves against Watford, to clearing the ball, only for it to rebound off an attacker into his own net against Everton, he has had his fair share of mess-ups this campaign.
Despite all of these errors, there are many positives to draw from the past two years for the 29-year-old. In 2019/20, he has eight clean sheets, only three off the best in the league, and mistakes have not been all he has had to offer United. De Gea has shown his world-class ability, with multiple fantastic saves helping United out of many tight spots.
Although he has had trouble recently, David de Gea is still an incredible goalkeeper.
He has helped United so much over the last decade, and without him, they would, no doubt have struggled more than they did.
This quality is still there, and it is possible that his confidence is low. Should the Spaniard boost this, he could get back to being a great goalkeeper without making mistakes, and that is what Manchester United need.
The David de Gea Conundrum: Keep Him or Sell Him?
The prospect of whether to sell De Gea is a conundrum, with the Spaniard a world-class goalkeeper, but having hit a rut of bad form which has lasted for two years.
However, it may be the best move. To cash in on him while he is not too old could be a good idea, with Dean Henderson coming through the ranks, getting experience at Sheffield United, while Sergio Romero is more than good enough to start in the Premier League. With the Spaniard a seriously valuable goalkeeper, the funds from his sale would help United afford moves for the likes of Jadon Sancho and Kalidou Koulibaly, both of whom may be on their way to Old Trafford.
That may not be the best thing to do, though. Henderson could ideally do with one more year on loan with the Blades, and De Gea has proven himself to be one of the world’s best keepers. United have some money, and many other means of getting more, and selling the Spanish goalkeeper could be a mistake.