Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Detailed Look Into The Rise of David De Gea

Old Trafford has had its considerable share of dark days since Sir Alex Ferguson decided to call time upon his role as manager of Manchester United, but there’s been one shining light throughout and that light is none other than David De Gea. The goalkeeper who is affectionately known as ‘Spanish Dave’ by some Red Devil fans has consistently been producing top class performances week in week out, De Gea has been metronomic in reliability. 

Every Manchester United fan will dread to think of how much worse it may have been these past few years had De Gea not been around. The Spaniard has won the ‘Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year’ award for two consecutive years (this award is decided by Manchester United fans), the last player to achieve this feat was a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. De Gea has every chance of winning the award again this season, if he were to win it the Spaniard would be the first ever Manchester United player to win the fan-voted award for three consecutive years since its inclusion in 1988. Manchester United fans having seen the Spaniard’s brilliance in the past few years would all equivocally agree he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, a significant majority of those supporters would argue he is the best in the world. With the eccentric German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer not quite being at his best this season, those calls are now being heard a lot louder and not just by ardent Manchester United fans, but the wider footballing community.

85% of the fans voted 'Yes' in a poll I conducted to De Gea being the best in the world

It’s not all been plain sailing for De Gea during his time at Manchester United, his first year at the club was worrying, particularly the first half of the season which was nothing short of a disaster. Some may consider this a harsh assessment but it could be argued he played a fairly big part in Manchester United not winning the league in the infamous 2011/2012 season, which Manchester City won on goal difference. The Spaniard conceded a number of goals which he should have prevented with consummate ease, if they were prevented the goal difference in the league table may have looked very different. Also, the Spaniard cost the team points on some occasions due to his goalkeeping errors such as the one against the bottom of the league Blackburn Rovers. There is obviously a huge counter argument to this point though which is football’s a team sport and other members of the team should have done more to help the club win the league, such as strikers finishing their chances. In this piece, we will further discuss some of his early mishaps and how he has developed in his time at the club to eradicate those initial concerns.

A very skinny De Gea on his Premier League debut
which provided a baptism of fire for the Spaniard.

One man also deserves a lot of credit in De Gea’s development, particularly in his first two years at the club, this man is none other than Eric Steele. Eric Steele was the goalkeeping coach of De Gea during his first two years at the club, he was also the man who watched the Spaniard on numerous occasions whilst De Gea was at Atletico Madrid and playing for the Spanish International youth set-up, Steele was adamant that De Gea was the goalkeeper to replace Edwin Van Der Sar. Sir Alex Ferguson recently spoke of Eric Steele’s insistence on signing De Gea, Ferguson felt they could have signed Manuel Neuer with him saying, ''I think Schalke would have been happy if we’d have gone and taken him [Neuer]''. However, Steele replied to Ferguson who was more inclined to sign the German, ''Yeah, but in three years’ time, De Gea will be better''. Many would agree that statement by Steele is now being proved right, fans of Manchester United will be forever indebted to their former goalkeeping coach for playing a pivotal part in bringing De Gea to Old Trafford.

De Gea and Steele struck up an excellent relationship, with Steele taking on an almost paternal role with the Spaniard who moved to a completely different country and culture. It was clear when De Gea first joined the club he needed to bulk up considerably, according to Steele the Spaniard weighed just ''71 kilos''. Steele worked hard to force a change in De Gea’s lifestyle, Steele highlighted De Gea was initially quite lazy commenting ''There were lifestyle issues. He’d [De Gea] sleep two or three times a day. He’d have his main meal late at night. He’d eat too many tacos.'' Steele brought a change in De Gea’s lifestyle and made the Spaniard do extra work in the gym, which by all accounts was something the Spaniard did not enjoy. He helped bring about a change in mentality in De Gea and may not have been the player he is now with Manchester United had Steele not been goalkeeping coach. The two struck up a great relationship, Steele even learned Spanish so they could communicate with each other from the onset, the goalkeeping coach leaving in 2013 will have been a big disappointment to De Gea. Credit should go to De Gea for not letting a change of coach effect his performances, unlike his outfield teammates who seemed to have let the change of management from Ferguson to Moyes affect them. 

Eric Steele played a pivotal role in De Gea's early development at the club, the Spaniard may not have been the player he is without Steele.


Now back onto De Gea, we will now look at some of the crucial attributes and traits a goalkeeper should possess and assess how De Gea has developed these whilst at Manchester United.

Shot Stopping

Gary Neville once commented whilst doing punditry for Sky Sports that goalkeepers should not really be complimented for their shot stopping ability as every goalkeeper should be able to perform this task. In a literal sense, he is right but the reality is it’s a very difficult skill and one in which Neville may now have changed his mind on now due to his experience managing Valencia who had a very questionable shot stopper in Diego Alves.

De Gea has always been an excellent shot stopper and it would have been one of the reasons why the Manchester United scouts and Eric Steele took serious notice in the Spaniard during his time with Atlético Madrid. De Gea has always been a very nimble and athletic goalkeeper with ‘cat-like’ reflexes to save shots in a superb fashion. 

There are tonnes of examples to highlight this during his time with Manchester United, but one which springs to mind was his magnificent save to deny his ‘Spanish Amigo’ Juan Mata from scoring a free kick in February 2012, had this gone in then it would have clinched Chelsea the game after Manchester United gallantly recovered from being 3-0 down at Stamford Bridge. It also provided a turning point in De Gea’s first year with Manchester United, the Spaniard was struggling to adjust to the Premier League and had been dropped for Anders Lindegaard since the start of 2012, he was only recalled due to the Danish goalkeeper picking up an injury. The Spaniard had hardly covered himself in glory in the game, but this save along with another stop moments after from a Gary Cahill shot gave him a lot of confidence, it provided De Gea a springboard to help cement his place back as the no.1 goalkeeper for Manchester United.

De Gea's excellent acrobatic save to deny a Juan Mata free kick heading into the top corner.
The top goalkeepers don’t just save shots but they ensure the ball is either held onto or parried away from danger thus preventing the opposition from scoring rebounds. There have been many comparisons between De Gea and Courtois, particularly last season when the Belgian was in form, this is one area in which the Spaniard is light years ahead of the Belgian, Courtois is guilty of parrying shots straight back into the danger area. David De Gea has improved in this area in leaps and bounds. In his first couple of years he was guilty of parrying the ball straight back into danger, an example of this was Daniel Sturridge’s goal at Old Trafford for Liverpool in January 2013, De Gea made a good save to deny a Steven Gerrard shot but it was parried straight back into the danger area allowing Sturridge to score a tap in.

Gary Neville described the goalkeeper as having ‘hard hands’, by this he meant shots the Spaniard saved would bounce back and he struggled to hold onto the ball. Whether it is down to a new hand moisturising cream the Spaniard is using or extra work on the training pitch (most likely the latter), those ‘hard hands’ have now become a lot 'softer.'. This has been most evident since the start of the 2014/2015 season onwards, De Gea now is able to hold onto his shots rather than allow it to bounce out of his hands to allow the opposition to score rebounds. When holding onto a shot is not a viable option he is now able to parry the ball out of the ‘danger-zone’ thus preventing rebounds.

Manuel Neuer has been considered by some to be an innovator with the way he has brought a new meaning to the term ‘Sweeper Keeper’. But don’t discount De Gea who is also an innovator, he has brought an unorthodox yet highly effective method to shot stopping, the Spaniard has an incredible ability to save shots with his feet that no other goalkeeper has done before to this effect. Goalkeepers would only usually use this method as a last resort, but the Spaniard has shown it’s equally beneficial to use in other situations where using the feet is more effective than the hands. Some traditionalists may argue a goalkeeper should always use their hands to save shots and there is never a time acceptable to use the feet like De Gea does. But De Gea has shown this method can be equally effective, the Spaniard has an incredible ability to get the same sort of control when saving with his feet as other goalkeepers would have when saving with their hands.

The most famous example of his unorthodox technique was in the Bernabéu when the Spaniard made a tremendous save to deny Fábio Coentrão, the Portuguese International did remarkably well go get a shot off but De Gea pulled an even more remarkable save with his foot. Not only that but by using his foot he generated enough power to clear the ball well away from danger, this may not have been the case had he used his hands and may have allowed Real Madrid to have scored on the rebound. In another Champions League game, the Spaniard made a fantastic double save both with his feet against Olympiacos at Old Trafford, these saves were crucial to help Manchester United get to the next round. 

De Gea with his unique yet highly effective method of shot stopping to deny Fábio Coentrão.

It’s clear De Gea has always been a fantastic shot stopper, but what is so evident in De Gea’s shot stopping from now and when he first joined is his consistency. There were a few times he made errors in shot stopping, this is no longer the case. Many would argue the last big shot stopping error he made was the 22nd January 2014, this was the League Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford, De Gea will have been very disappointed to have allowed a long range Phil Bardsley shot to have gone in. However, this error was over two years ago which speaks superlatives about De Gea as to how consistent he has been. This consistency coupled with his ability to prevent shots from rebounding back into danger makes him one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. 

Dealing with crosses and command in the box

During De Gea’s first few years with the club, the Spaniard was quite a liability when dealing with crosses and long balls, he possessed very little command in the box which was a concern amongst both the Manchester United defenders and fans alike. Everyone knew this was a glaring weakness in De Gea’s game and teams would apply tactics to exploit the Spaniards weakness. An example of this was in the 4th round of the 2012 FA Cup tie between Manchester United and Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish deliberately implemented the tactics of crowding De Gea during corners. The tactic proved rewarding as it led to Daniel Agger scoring the opening goal, De Gea was hapless and did not look he had any command in the box to deal with Liverpool’s tactics. 

Liverpool deliberately crowded De Gea’s area during set pieces as they knew
 the Spaniard had no command of his box and did not know how to deal with it.

In defence of De Gea, this was completely new for the Spaniard, the former Atlético Madrid goalkeeper came from a very technical league where for the most part the ball is kept on the ground. Literally and metaphorically speaking this was all very foreign to De Gea, most would have expected the Spaniard to initially struggle with this part of the Premier League game, but they probably didn't expect him to struggle as much as he initially did. Part of why he struggled so much when dealing with crosses and long balls was due to the tactic he elected to implement.

During De Gea’s first few seasons in Manchester, the Spaniard had a tendency to frequently try and punch the ball when attempting to deal with crosses and long balls as opposed to catching the ball. Goalkeepers punching the ball is commonplace in many of the foreign leagues, it is seen as an acceptable method of dealing with crosses and long balls in those leagues. In England however, it is looked upon as very dangerous and risky in which punching the ball should only be used as a last resort when it is not possible to catch the ball. This is due to a variety of reasons, the main one being the lack of control a goalkeeper can generate by punching a ball. There is no guarantee the ball will not fall to an opposition player in a dangerous area when a goalkeeper punches the ball. 

Furthermore, a goalkeeper has to get a clean punch on the ball which can be difficult to do so at times, if a goalkeeper cannot get a clean punch on the ball it is almost guaranteed to cause a problem for the team. Now in the foreign leagues where long balls are not as frequently used, this may not be so big of a problem as goalkeepers can get away with punching the ball if they only have to do it once or twice in a game. In the Premier League however which is a league where many teams adopt long ball tactics and crossing into the box at any available opportunity, the law of averages would suggest at some point punching the ball is going to lead to trouble in a game.

Two great examples of when the law of averages with De Gea punching the ball worked against him was when he faced Blackburn Rovers in his first season and Tottenham Hotspurs in his second season:

The Blackburn Rovers match was the infamous home game on New Year’s Eve 2011 where Sir Alex Ferguson played a weakened central midfield pairing of Rafael Da Silva and Park Ji-Sung (much to the dismay of a certain Paul Pogba). The weakened Manchester United team managed to claw back a two-goal deficit thanks to a quick fire Dimitar Berbatov double when disaster struck, what should have been a simple lofted cross for De Gea to claim turned out to be anything but simple. Rather than catch the lofted cross the Spaniard attempted to punch it, he unfortunately missed the ball completely and therefore allowed the Blackburn defender Grant Hanley a free header which he lofted in the air, at the second time of asking he nodded the header in, all the meanwhile De Gea was still on the
ground having missed the ball by trying to punch it. The goal came late on and proved to be the winner which meant the bottom of the table side took all three points at Old Trafford. The red half of Manchester lost the league that season on goal difference and a game like this proved very costly.

In January 2013, a high-flying Manchester United team led by the in-form Robin Van Persie visited White Hart Lane, just like many a game that season the Dutch striker gave the Red Devils a 1-0 lead. It looked as though that would be the winner and provide the Red Devils with a crucial three points in a very difficult game, David De Gea had made some excellent saves to keep what looked like was going to be a clean sheet. However, in the 92nd minute, De Gea decided to use his preferred method of the punching the ball to deal with a Benoit Assou-Ekotto cross. As mentioned before if a goalkeeper cannot get a clean punch on the ball it is almost guaranteed to cause a problem and it unfortunately did. The Spaniard got little power on his punch and it fell straight to the feet of Aaron Lennon who squared the ball to Clint Dempsey who equalised. The American scored so late on that Manchester United could not respond and therefore dropped two crucial points. De Gea was excellent that game putting in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance prior to the error, but being a goalkeeper is a very unforgiving position and one in which one error can ruin a whole performance. 

A hapless De Gea can only watch on as Grant Hanley heads in the winner from a failed punch by the keeper.
The 17th April 2013 was a pivotal day in the career of David De Gea, it was the day the boy from Madrid became a man. Manchester United travelled to Upton Park against a West Ham side led by their battering ram of a centre-forward Andy Carroll. It was quite clear from the get-go that Sam Allardyce’s game plan was to target De Gea with long balls and crosses, at times the Spaniard had been targeted with this tactic due to it being a weakness in his game but Allardyce took these tactics to a whole new level. It culminated in what can best be described as a collision bordering on assault from Andy Carroll, De Gea punched the ball out from a corner however Carroll came running into the Spaniard at full speed and poleaxed the goalkeeper. Gary Neville described it as ''It’s either a big accident or a jail sentence’’ which summarises perfectly how bad an incident it was. De Gea got up from this however and it felt as though this was a turning point, Neville said in his analysis of the game ''This is the coming of De Gea tonight'' and just like on most occasions the pundit was right. The players and football world saw a
different De Gea that night, he would not have done that a year ago. 
The moment Andy Carroll clattered into De Gea which Neville described as ''This is the coming of De Gea tonight''.
The early mishaps are now almost a figment of the imagination for most Manchester United fans having seen how good the Spaniard is now at dealing with crosses and long balls coupled with his presence in the box. De Gea has become a much greater and assured commander of the box, after the initial hiccups in his first few seasons he is much more willing to catch balls from crosses or long ball. As we can see from the below picture which was used on a De Gea segment done by Gary Neville on ‘Monday Night Football, there is a drastic increase in the 2014-15 season in the percentage of catches he takes as opposed to punches. This has no doubt played a big part in why he is now considered one the best goalkeepers in the world, he makes much less mistakes now as he takes the safer option of trying to catch the ball from a cross. 

De Gea has drastically improved his stats in regards to how many balls he punches instead of catches. [Source- Sky Sports MNF]

Manchester United fans are no longer nervous when a cross or long ball comes into the box, De Gea has improved in leaps and bounds when dealing with crosses/long balls and his command in the box is much more assured. The keeper can still improve though and take this area of his game to another level, at times he does seem troubled when players crowd him in the box, particularly during corners. When this occurs he does have a tendency to focus too much on the players crowding him rather than the ball which has proved to his detriment on occasions this season. Examples of this include Bournemouth’s goal where Junior Stanislas scored directly from a corner and also the recent FA Cup quarter-final replay at Upton Park. History would tell us with De Gea though that it will only be a matter of time before this slight weakness in his game will be eradicated.  

One on Ones

Part of being excellent at one on ones is being a great shot stopper and having excellent reactions which De Gea has in abundance, this has already been looked at in detail in the ‘Shot Stopping’ part, this section instead will look at aspects such as De Gea’s decision making and positioning in a one on one situation.

During his early years in Manchester, De Gea was guilty of being a bit too hasty in one on one situations. The Spaniard would be too early in trying to pre-empt what the opposition player was going to do in a one on one. By doing this he presented an easier chance to the opposition player to score in these situations. A good example to illustrate this was the home game against Chelsea in September 2011, De Gea’s fellow countryman Fernando Torres went through one on one with the keeper and Torres scored by chipping the ball over De Gea. It could be argued it was just a fantastic finish from Torres. However, the manner in which De Gea rushed out and then had his hands all over the place resulted in it being a gift for Torres. De Gea made the decision for Torres rather than making him decide which is what should have been done. In the same game, he made a similar hasty judgement when Torres once again went through on goal by rushing out, the striker easily went past a flat-footed De Gea only for ‘El Nino’ to then produce one of the worst finishes in the history of the Premier League missing an open goal.

De Gea was guilty of not holding his position in one on ones during his early years at the club, as mentioned above with the Torres example, when Torres went through on goal De Gea rushed out and it made it easy for the striker to get past him. It was almost as if De Gea panicked a tad during one on one situations, an example of this was Edin Džeko’s second goal in the 6-1 drubbing Manchester City inflicted on United in the derby. When the Bosnian striker was running through on goal De Gea was constantly moving back and forth, the Spaniard was ‘all over the shop’. Gary Neville highlighted ''He [De Gea] was not in control'' when assessing De Gea’s role in the one on one, by constantly moving backwards and forward the Spaniard lost his position and made it much easier for Džeko to score the sixth goal for City.

By now you will have realised there is a pattern, that pattern is De Gea has drastically improved in areas he was not so strong in during his early years. One on ones is no different, De Gea is a now excellent in these situations. The Spaniard now holds his position in one on ones, he waits for the opposition player to make their mind up to decide where to put the ball rather than vice-versa, previously De Gea would do the opposite and he’d already decided where to go which made it easier for the opposition player in these situations. A great example of De Gea forcing a player to make his mind up was the fantastic one on one save De Gea made against Eden Hazard in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, Hazard was clear through on goal and was in acres of space with only De Gea to beat. De Gea hardly moved an inch, he held his position for as long possible which put pressure on Hazard as the Belgian had to decide where to place the ball, this resulted in De Gea making a fantastic save.

De Gea also made several fantastic one on one saves in the 3-0 win at Old Trafford against Liverpool last season, Manchester United’s defence was poor in this game and gave Liverpool plenty of one on one opportunities. De Gea was not as generous as his defenders, he was hell-bent on ensuring Liverpool were not going to score.  The Spaniard was excellent in this game which culminated in an Old Trafford legend in Ole Gunnar Solskjær declaring the following:

 "I've seen quite a few [outstanding performances] with the goalkeepers I've played with in [Peter] Schmeichel and Van der Saar but today was probably the best one I've seen at Old Trafford from a United goalkeeper.’’

This speaks volumes as to just how good De Gea was, to put in a performance better than the two aforementioned ‘goalkeeping greats’ speaks superlatives of the Spaniard, many would also agree with the Norwegian’s assessment.  

This may be more of a trivial point but it’s clear De Gea has bulked up and filled his frame considerably since he joined the club, in his first season he was very skinny and was in need of a few doughnuts (which he allegedly stole). He now has a bigger presence in goal which could play an advantage with one on ones, he still retains that speed and agility when he first came but now with a bigger presence in goal it must give him an advantage in one on ones. Metaphorically speaking De Gea also has a much bigger presence in goal, opposition players know the Spaniard is the best in the business so there is more pressure on them to place the ball with greater accuracy, this carries a greater risk in missing for the opposition. 

De Gea held his position right up until the moment Eden Hazard decided to shoot, the Spaniard made an excellent save.

Penalties

During his time so far with Manchester United, De Gea has faced 18 penalties (excluding penalty shootouts), he has saved three of those penalties, two of those have come in the league with him saving former teammate Robin Van Persie’s penalty in the infamous 8-2 win, and he also saved a penalty from Leighton Baines in the 2-1 win last season at Old Trafford. His third save came in the Champions League this season against CSKA Moscow, unfortunately the rebound went in. The only other penalty which did not go in with De Gea in goal was Steven Gerrard’s in 2014, in a remarkable game Gerrard was on a hat-trick having scored two previous penalties in the game, the Liverpudlian however, missed his third penalty in the game hitting the post, De Gea dived the wrong way and was beaten all ends up had it hit the target. The Spaniard has been involved in just one penalty shootout with Manchester United, this was against Sunderland in the semi-final of the League Cup in 2013. De Gea performed very well in the penalty shootout, he saved two penalties in this and Craig Gardner skied his penalty, unfortunately despite the Spaniard’s heroics Manchester United still lost in the shootout. 

When it comes to saving penalties this is not a weakness in De Gea’s game, but for a world class goalkeeper, De Gea will no doubt be slightly disappointed he has not saved more penalties in his time in Manchester. Everyone will have differing views on this but it could be argued the Spaniard could indulge more in the psychological mind games with the penalty takers. This is something his predecessor Van Der Sar was excellent at, the Dutchman would use tactics to slow down the moments before the penalty is taken and tries to make it as elongated a process as possible for the penalty taker. It could be argued this would play on the mind of the penalty taker which may give the goalkeeper more of an advantage. An example of this was when the Dutchman used this tactic to produce a crucial save to deny Darius Vassell in the Manchester Derby, this ensured Manchester United won the match 1-0 and moved them within touching distance of becoming the 2007 Premier League Champions. The most famous example however, is that pivotal save Van Der Sar made to deny Nicolas Anelka in the UEFA Champions League Final to help clinch Manchester United win the trophy.

De Gea elects against using these psychological tactics and rather just gets on with it which is not surprising as the Spaniard is a very laid back character. Choosing to follow tactics similar to Van Der Sar may not bring about any positive result whatsoever, but it would not hinder the result and as a fan it would be interesting to see.

De Gea made a crucial penalty save to deny Baines from scoring at Old Trafford last season.

Distribution and ability with feet

De Gea has been brought up in the new era of Spanish ‘Tiki-Taka’ football where every player regardless of position needs to be exceptional with their ball distribution. The Spaniard in his younger days played regularly as an outfield player. Jose Maria Cruz who was a PE teacher of De Gea during his schooldays highlighted his outfield prowess in an interview with the Daily Mail, ''David was an outfield player until the age of 14. We played Futbol Sala here, Spain’s answer to five-a-side, and he was playing up front. He was our top goalscorer.'' Playing this form of football which focuses on passing and technical skills has certainly proved rewarding for De Gea, the Spaniard has excellent distribution and is very comfortable with that ball at his feet. This skill has become a lot more evident since Van Gaal became manager of Manchester, his ‘philosophy’ has resulted in De Gea having more touches of the ball with his feet than the strikers. De Gea rarely panics on the ball regardless of how much pressure is on his, the experience of ‘Futbol Sala’ no doubt helped him.

A young David De Gea (back row, 4th from right) lining up as an outfield player.

It could be argued De Gea does not get enough credit for his distribution and comfortability on the ball, one of the reasons for this is due to Manuel Neuer. The German is tremendous in this area, but it could be argued De Gea is just as good but because he is not as ‘flashy’ as the German he is not held in the same regard to Neuer in this area. The eccentric German goalkeeper can regularly be seen near to halfway line with the ball and therefore brings more publicity to his skill. De Gea will never be seen doing this but that does not mean he isn’t just as good on the ball; the Spaniards style also carries a lot less risk, as opposed to Neuer’s who we have seen concede goals due to his distribution.

De Gea has to be up there with being one of the greatest ever distributors when kicking the ball out from his hands. The Spaniard is able to distribute the ball with deadly accuracy and speed when kicking the ball from his hands, this is a brilliant tool to help kick-start counter attacks. It is probably not used often enough due to the Van Gaal’s philosophy which rarely sees counter attacks. However, we may see this a lot more often in the future with a counter-attacking manager like Mourinho for example. The ‘Great Dane’ Peter Schmeichel was excellent at being able to kickstart counter attacks with his throws, De Gea is similar but can do it with his feet and fans will hope to see this skill in action more often in the future.

De Gea is able to deliver balls with deadly accuracy and speed when kicking the ball.

Conclusion

It’s gotten to the stage now with De Gea where fans are at a loss of words to praise the Spanish goalkeeper (although this very long article may disagree!), every single week Manchester United fans are mesmerised at his brilliance. What makes his brilliance even greater with the Old Trafford faithful is they’ve witnessed his growth first hand in him becoming a world class player. He went from a very raw talent into a world-class complete goalkeeper, this is a very similar story to another world class player Old Trafford used to witness week in week out, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Just like with Ronaldo when he was at the club, De Gea is frequently linked to Real Madrid and it looked as if he was going to join the Portuguese player last summer had it not been for a fax machine.  

Manchester United fans will no doubt be looking forward to the upcoming summer transfer window to see who the club acquires, but the one huge caveat to this upcoming transfer window will no doubt be the possibility of De Gea leaving the club for pastures new. Fans will hope the recent contract he signed signifies the Spaniard is staying at Old Trafford for the long term. If the Spaniard stays at the club for the long term he could go down as the clubs greatest goalkeeper, this would be an incredible achievement as the club has had some incredible goalkeepers such as Harry Gregg, Alex Stepney, Peter Schmeichel and Van Der Sar. De Gea is also turning into a leader, which the current United side have a lack of. If De Gea were to leave any other goalkeeper would be a downgrade as he is the best, fans will be desperately hoping he stays. As mentioned at the beginning of the piece, De Gea has been a shining light for Manchester United in very dark days, to quote the Manchester based band ''The Smiths'' all Manchester United fans will hope this a ''light that never goes out''.


Written by @mufc_fan_saf 










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