United’s revival linked to de Gea’s future, Latest Football News - The New Paper

United’s revival linked to de Gea’s future

'Best goalkeeper in the world' holding out in contract talks with Red Devils

  • PSG lead 2-0 after first leg

Manchester United's solitary defeat in caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 16 matches in charge came against Paris Saint-Germain, which exposed the gulf the English giants still have to bridge to become European powerhouses once more.


But that the Red Devils travel to Paris tomorrow morning (Singapore time) trailing only 2-0 from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie is thanks to David de Gea.

The Spanish No. 1 made two brilliant stops from Kylian Mbappe and Juan Bernat three weeks ago, as PSG threatened to run riot to again underline his calibre as one of the best goalkeepers in the competition.

With Paul Pogba suspended for the return to his native city, de Gea is the one United player who could walk into a PSG side that have divided goalkeeping duties between Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon and Alphonse Areola this season.

Worryingly for United, that prospect is all too real with de Gea, 28, holding out in contract negotiations to prolong his current deal beyond the summer of 2020, reports AFP.

According to reports, de Gea is seeking at least parity with Alexis Sanchez as the club's highest earner.The Chilean joined United on a contract worth up to £500,000 (S$890,000) a week including bonuses in January 2018, but has not had anywhere near the desired impact, scoring just five goals in 41 appearances.

By contrast, de Gea has won United's Player of the Year for four of the past five seasons and believes his consistency should be rewarded.

But, for a matter of minutes on the final day of August in 2015, de Gea's career could have been very different. A similar contract stand-off between the player and club seemed to pave the way for a move to Real Madrid - only for the fax confirming the transfer to miss the deadline.

Real have since gone on to win the Champions League for the past three seasons with Keylor Navas in goal.

The Costa Rican has performed well, but is not seen as being in de Gea's class, as evidenced by the fact Real pounced to sign Thibaut Courtois earlier this season when the Belgian also refused to extend his contract at Chelsea.

As Real have reigned in Europe, United have faded.

In the four seasons before de Gea signed, Alex Ferguson's side reached three Champions League finals. In the seven seasons since, United have made the quarter-finals just once and look likely to fall short of the last eight once more.

Courtois' arrival appears to have closed the door to a move to the Spanish giants.

However, PSG and Italian champions Juventus are reportedly interested and could offer de Gea the guarantee of Champions League football.

Solskjaer hailed de Gea as "the best goalkeeper in the world" last week as he pleaded with him to commit his future to the club.

The Norwegian has lifted the mood of players, staff and fans with his affable nature off the field and much-improved results on it, making him the front-runner for the manager's job on a full-time basis.

A huge task remains ahead for whoever is in charge, though, not just to recruit the right players to make United contenders for titles at home and on the continent, but also to convince de Gea their new project is worth hanging around for.

As for PSG's Buffon, the legendary goalkeeper, 41, has revealed he could have signed for either United or Man City.

The Italian has enjoyed incredible success during his career, which began at Parma in the 1990s before moving to Serie A giants Juventus in 2001.

Buffon would spend 17 years at the Old Lady, winning nine Serie A titles and countless other trophies before departing for PSG in the summer.

It could have all been different had Buffon gone to Manchester instead of Turin, however, and he revealed that United were chasing him before he left his beloved Parma.

"When I was a boy playing for Parma, Ferguson tracked me closely for two or three years," the Italian told United legend Rio Ferdinand for BT Sport.

"At the time, Parma was my world and I didn't feel like leaving."

Buffon's career includes a World Cup triumph, but one trophy that has always eluded him is the Champions League.

He stayed at Juventus in the hope of lifting the trophy at the club and was on the losing side in three finals.

Perhaps the pursuit of the trophy is why he also turned down City's approach.

Buffon said: "I had a very big offer from City, when they started to build the team... They wanted me to be the first signing, but I stayed at Juve."