It would have been unthinkable a few years ago to suggest that Manchester United might be better off without David de Gea. The Spaniard was a rare bright spot in the first few years of the post-Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford.
De Gea won the club’s Player of the Year award in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Ander Herrera came out on top in 2017. But the prize was back in De Gea’s hands 12 months later.
Since then his form has deteriorated. He is no longer among the world’s leading goalkeepers. He has been overtaken by Alisson and Ederson in the Premier League alone. United should cash in on him this summer.
De Gea signed a four-year contract extension in September. It ended months of speculation about his future. The Spaniard is now tied down to United until the summer of 2023.
It is often assumed that a new deal makes a transfer unlikely. That is true in some cases. In others, it increases the player’s market value but does not necessarily rule out a move.
United would have received a much smaller fee had they decided to sell De Gea when he had just a year remaining on his contract. This extension could work to their benefit.
De Gea is not the goalkeeper he once was. Mistakes have crept into his game. He has never convincingly dominated his penalty area. Nor is he among the best ball-playing custodians out there.
Yet he would still have suitors. There are plenty of teams across Europe who would be improved by his presence. But that is a reason for United to sell the 29-year-old, not keep hold of him.
A top-four finish this season would represent a fine achievement for United. Regardless, there is still considerable room for improvement in the squad.
United are one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet. Even so, a major sale would generate funds that could be reinvested in the playing staff. What is more, they have a ready-made replacement for De Gea on the books.
Dean Henderson has been among the most impressive goalkeepers in the Premier League this term. The Sheffield United shot-stopper is on loan from Manchester United. He has kept the second-most clean sheets in the division for a team with the second-best defensive record. United should sell De Gea and hand Henderson the No.1 jersey this summer.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.