Every summer, football fans eagerly await to hear confirmation of the players their club have signed. During the transfer windows where Manchester United didn’t sign any players worth getting excited about, Sir Alex Ferguson would trot out the line about one of their players returning from injury being “like a new signing”.
It was said about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2006, Owen Hargreaves in 2009, Nemanja Vidic in 2012, and so on.
However, every summer transfer window closes where David de Gea is still a Manchester United player is met with the same excitement as a new signing. Every year he is linked with a move to Real Madrid and some summers have seen him more likely to leave than others.
In 2015, it appeared as though there was no hope in keeping him, with it announced on the day of the deadline that a deal had been agreed, with Keylor Navas heading in the opposite direction.
However, when it came to the time that the transfer had to be confirmed, it was revealed that Real Madrid had left it too late and the paperwork wasn’t filed in time. United supporters were over the moon and their happiness grew when a few months later he signed a new contract.
That second deal is close to expiring now though, with just a year remaining, leaving the club in the same position they were in 2015. A big difference this time though is that De Gea looks like he is keen to stay.
On Wednesday evening, the goalkeeper was voted the Sir Matt Busby player of the year for a fourth time, breaking the record held by Cristiano Ronaldo who had won it three times.
In his speech after receiving the award, he certainly didn’t give the impression of a player who was looking for a way out of the club.
“It’s difficult to say with words what Manchester United means for me,” he said. “For anyone. It’s amazing to play for this club, with the history of this club, for the fans, for everything. It’s amazing to be part of this club.
“It was a bit hard at the beginning but I believed in myself and I work hard and train hard and, until now, I am proud of myself too. Of course, I want to say thanks to everyone. I didn’t expect to win one but now I have won it four times so it’s amazing for me. Thank you.”
De Gea turns 28 this year and has developed in to the best goalkeeper in the world. Even when he signed as a teenager, United supporters had hoped they would at least be able to see him at their club for his peak, with the presumption even then that he would one day leave for Real Madrid.
Reports last month suggested that De Gea was ready to sign another five year deal with the club, which would ensure that he spent all of his best days at Old Trafford.
Having won three trophies in the past two season, with possibly a fourth this season, as well as likely finishing second, De Gea has been given enough reassurances that United is the club to match his ambitions. Jose Mourinho has had a huge role to play in that too.
“It was odd (under Van Gaal),” De Gea claimed last week. “Finishing fourth is not good enough. I want to win. If you are at United, you need a manager with a winning mentality. We had that with Ferguson. Mourinho has it. He wants to win every game.”
United travel to Wembley in a couple of weeks time, hoping to beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup, which would set the club up nicely to mount a serious title challenge with Manchester City next season. With De Gea in between the sticks, who is favourite to win the Golden Glove with 17 clean sheets so far this season, United’s chances of success are immediately boosted.