Manchester United: David de Gea is worth £350k per week
The Spanish goalkeeper is reportedly looking for a huge contract extension and Manchester United shouldn’t think twice about giving him it.
If this stop-start, second in the league but without ever really being that good, season has proven anything, it is that David de Gea is now Manchester United’s best player.
For all Paul Pogba’s constant promise to break out as one of the league’s best, Romelu Lukaku’s purple-patch goalscoring and now the addition of Alexis Sánchez, it is de Gea who has kept José Mourinho’s side fighting at the top end of the top six.
To try and count the points that he has saved for Manchester United this season would be a difficult exercise as, however good the save, there will always be a thousand fans on Twitter ready to show how, actually, it was right at him and any goalkeeper worth his salt would have kept it out.
Yet, the statement that Petr Čech would win Arsenal 10-15 points a season on his own seems to apply directly to the Spaniard.
Huge saves in huge games, huge saves in smaller games that Manchester United wouldn’t expect to need them in – he has been their knight in shining armour all season.
Sánchez shows United can pay top dollar
Now, with Real Madrid circling as Real Madrid do, it is being reported that de Gea is looking for a £350k/week contract to remain at Old Trafford.
It is the sort of demand that will see headlines featuring the phrases ‘eye-watering’, ‘astronomical’, and ‘bumper contract’ circling round the nation’s newspapers. But given the financial realities of football in 2018, it is probably fair enough. It wouldn’t even make him Manchester United’s best-paid player.
One of the risks of bringing in Sánchez in the January window was that his £400k/week pay packet would unsettle other key members of the squad earning far less.
Their next best-paid player right now is Paul Pogba, thought to be on £290k/week, and, while such players have no right to feel aggrieved at their own earnings, it has shown agents just how far the club is willing to go.
With his current contract only thought to run until 2019, it is the de Gea camp which holds the cards as things stand and Sánchez lurks in Manchester as a reminder of the potentially devastating effects of an unhappy star player, even at the very biggest clubs.
De Gea may be the world’s best
At 27, de Gea should be in his early prime as a goalkeeper with years at the top to come. Given that he is already one of the finest shot-stoppers the English game has seen, that is a mouth-watering prospect for United and one which they can’t allow to be prised away.
In the eyes of many, he has replaced Manuel Neuer as the world’s number one goalkeeper. This is a fact aided by the German’s own absence through injury this season but, given that Neuer has been talked about as one of the finest goalkeepers of all time, it underlines just how good de Gea is.
If Manchester United had the best striker in the world, the best midfielder in the world, the best winger in the world, there is no doubt that they would cough up £350k/week to keep him.
There is also very little doubt that, should a bank-breaking move for Neymar fail to materialise, Real Madrid would do everything to take him away.
Hurt by a failed season, Madrid look to hit back
With Madrid’s season floundering, much has been made of the transfer spree they have planned for the coming summer.
Neymar is the prize but none of the Premier League’s mega-clubs are completely safe – Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah, and fellow goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois are thought to be targets.
De Gea has already succeeded Iker Casillas at international level, and his presence in goal would be a significant statement of the enduring power of the Spanish capital club.
It is a move which would make a lot of sense for club and player. Manchester United have to prove they are serious about keeping him.
There are very few players in world football who are irreplaceable. Liverpool already seem to be getting over their post-Coutinho hiccup.
Madrid are beginning to plan for life without Ronaldo. But there are very few candidates for de Gea replacements that wouldn’t see Manchester United significantly weakened by his absence.
Paying up would be simpler than finding a replacement
Those who could replace him would require a significant financial outlay in transfer fees, agent fees, and wages.
Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, targeted by Liverpool, has been quoted at upwards of £50 million. It may be overly simplistic but that transfer fee would equate to almost three years’ wages at £350k/week.
Obviously, football finances are more complex than that. Loyalty bonuses, agent fees, performance bonuses would all come into play.
But put simply: Manchester United may have the best goalkeeper in the world and look to have been quoted an attainable figure to keep hold of him.
If they fail to agree an extension and he finally becomes the heir to Casillas that Madrid have long imagined, they would regret it.
What do you think? Is David de Gea worth £350k per week? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.