“David de Gea, we want you to stay.”
That was the chant sung by Manchester United’s fans during their 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday, but United’s manager Louis van Gaal knows he is powerless to stand in De Gea’s way with the Spanish international having just one year left on his contract.
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On Sunday Victor Valdes made his Manchester United debut as the former Barcelona goalkeeper came off the bench to replace de Gea late on as he pulled up with a hamstring issue.
As he walked off the pitch, United’s best player of the season by a country mile was met with more chants pleading for him to stay, as fans fear it could be his last appearance at Old Trafford with Real Madrid rumored to want him to replace Iker Casillas this summer.
Speaking afterwards, van Gaal revealed he can do nothing to stop de Gea moving on.
“I don’t think I can persuade him because he knows everything he has at Manchester United,” van Gaal said. “I don’t have to say something because he can feel it every day. You have seen the fans – unbelievable. When he is going, he is losing that. Here he has a lot of credits. He has to decide.”
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Van Gaal then listed some of the main reasons why DDG may decide to call it quits after four years in the Premier League to return home to Spain.
“I analyse his position and then I say he is Spanish, he is a Spanish international still behind Iker Casillas. Now a Spanish club is coming, his girlfriend is Spanish, his father and mother come every week or every two weeks here, so it is difficult,” van Gaal added.
Currently contemplating a new contract offer of $220,000 a week from United, the Spanish goalkeeper has a big decision to make. He is adored by United’s fans and has been voted as the best ‘keeper in the PL for two of his four seasons since moving from Atletico Madrid as a 21-year-old in 2011.
De Gea, 24, has to make a decision sooner rather than later, and United have one arm tied behind their backs as they either cash in on him this summer or risk losing him for nothing in 2016. They have an able deputy in Valdes in waiting, but surely selling their prized asset this summer would send out a big message as to how far they have fallen behind their big rivals across Europe.
Each transfer deal has its own motives behind and it seems like de Gea may want to return to his home city of Madrid. But as Gareth Bale is finding out, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence and the adulation de Gea has at United will be hard to come by at Real.