Manchester United were back to winning ways on Saturday as they saw out a 1-0 victory over Leicester City. That win made it Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s only win in United’s last four games. Truthfully the Red Devils have not had a lot to smile about of late with happenings on and off the pitch prior to this weekend’s action. However, it would appear some contract renewal rumours concerning goalkeeper David De Gea could be room for further optimism.
From a United perspective, a few topics have been ongoing in the past couple of weeks. From Daniel James’ emergence to the penalty saga to De Gea’s contract situation as well as poor results on the pitch, Manchester United have been going through a tough period lately.
This weekend was definitely what United needed to release some tension.
News which emerged as per The Mirror that David De Gea had finally agreed to a new contract which was followed by a much-needed victory and clean sheet against an in-form Leicester City was the best thing the Old Trafford faithful could have asked for.
David De Gea’s situation has been one of United’s biggest issues this season as it coincidentally matched with a difficult period for the Spaniard himself.
Whether or not his contract talk directly affected his form of late can only be speculative but against Leicester, all seemed to be well as the shot-stopper and the United defence looked sharper throughout the game.
He made three saves as per Whoscored highlighted with a crucial trademark save with his foot to deny James Madison in the first half which was a classic De Gea stop we’ve seen time and time over again in previous seasons.
We know form is temporary and of course, De Gea’s class can’t be debated against.
Just how much of an impact could this contract decision add to De Gea’s form and Manchester United’s season as a whole should all things go according to plan.
While you ponder on the above context here’s a stat for the road to imply that the Spanish goalkeeper is on the right path once again.
David De Gea has kept two clean sheets at Old Trafford out of five games this season, equalling his tally of two clean sheets the whole of last season (via Opta).
Back to the above narrative, could a new contract be the catalyst that sees United reclaim a newly refreshed De Gea in-between the sticks? Some little insight into that.
De Gea playing with 100% focus
A fully focused De Gea with no distractions is definitely something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United fans all over would be pleased to hear.
His focus may finally be back and uncontested since he would no longer be worried about his future. His situation was reportedly watched closely by the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid during the window and a new contract will ward off that interest for the time being.
Manchester United are going through a rebuilding project at the moment and players as important De Gea are the ones they must keep but keeping them alone is not enough, they have to be committed to the cause and without distraction.
Having the Spanish international between the sticks during this period is important as United do not know their best defence yet with the lack of cohesion causing some defensive errors.
This mental stability for him could also help him claim back his status as the number one for his national team where he has fallen down the pecking order after starting only once in Spain’s last five games.
What a new De Gea contract could mean for Manchester United
From a United perspective, signing De Gea to a long term deal means that they have either kept the arguably world’s best goalkeeper in the team for a few more years or they can cash in on the player with a huge transfer fee instead of the lower value they might have sold him for with his contract winding down.
It might be the former for the club as De Gea has expressed his desire to captain the club one day and he may well do so in the future being one of the longest-serving players if he does stay.
On the negative side, De Gea will have to be part of yet another rebuilding job in the post-Ferguson era. Another few years of frustration and ultimately lack of silverware is on the cards for the club and it doesn’t help that the Spaniard will spend his peak years in the midst of that.
From a club standpoint, David De Gea has looked out of form even before his contract negotiations started, dating back to last year’s World Cup and just maybe United would have been right to let him leave the club because of this.
As per Premier League, De Gea conceded 54 goals last season, which was the highest of any top-six side and also the Spaniard’s worst goal conceded per season tally in his United career.
Moving further as per the same source, his seven clean sheets and save percentage of 69% was also De Gea’s lowest numbers in any of his previous seasons. It was definitely a season to forget for the 28-year-old.
His 2018 World Cup campaign wasn’t any better as his woeful performances saw Spain crash out early in the competition.
David de Gea for club & country since the start of the 2018 World Cup:
• 16 shots on target faced
• 12 goals conceded
Dave needs to start saving again. 😳 pic.twitter.com/Ry5KkUWVvu
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 27, 2018
Ultimately if it was based on form, United would have been forgiven had they let David De Gea go over the summer.
Although De Gea is 28, he seems to be playing like his best years might be behind him. That is a bit outlandish but not impossible in this game.
A new contract does not guarantee a player staying but it does increase the fee any purchasing club will have to pay for the transfer of that player which means the 28-year-old could still leave even with a new deal.
Who knows? He may have signed a new contract because the United hierarchy wanted him to calm things down and assure him that they will find a transfer suitable to both teams.
Maybe we shouldn’t think that deep and just accept it for what it is. United tying De Gea up to a new contract because not many better if any are available in the transfer market. Only time will tell whether the deal will favour both parties or not.