One might expect that when the current Premier League Golden Glove holder becomes a free agent, the world’s top clubs would be fighting tooth and nail to take advantage of such a rare opportunity and make him their new number one shot-stopper.
But that has not been the case this summer, as, after being released by Manchester United, Spain international David de Gea remains without a club a little over a week before the new La Liga and Premier League seasons get underway.
He was unbeatable 25 times across his 58 appearances in all competitions in 2022/23, 17 times in the Premier League, which was enough for de Gea to pocket the Golden Glove for the first time since 2018.
His performances last season only beg the question – why has David de Gea not found himself a new club yet?
After all, last season was no fluke. 12 years at Old Trafford, 545 appearances, a Premier League title and four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards are enough to cement him as one of the best goalkeepers ever to grace the Premier League. Also, as a 32-year-old, he is at the age when most goalkeepers hit their prime.
Whatever the reason, de Gea is seemingly not troubled by it, as reported by MARCA, his is instead enjoying some well-earned family time.
De Gea, like any elite player at the moment, has reportedly had interest from Saudi Arabia. Though such a move has not been ruled out, he is said to prefer staying in Europe over a move to the Pro League.
While wages would not be an issue in the Gulf state, the same cannot be said for many clubs around Europe, who would struggle to offer anything close to what he has been earning in Manchester and wanted to keep earning before contract renewal talks broke down in June.
Another factor could be his reputation in Spain, which has seldom been as high as the one he has in England. Uncapped by la Roja since 2020, he often came in for heavy criticism from media and fans alike when returning to his homeland for international fixtures. There is unlikely to be a club in La Liga at the moment that could both afford de Gea’s wages and consider him an upgrade on their current starting goalkeeper – whether or not he truly is.
Goalkeepers of de Gea’s ilk are not en vogue at the moment. The desire for a goalkeeper to be good with his feet – much like his replacement at United, Andre Onana – are seen as a cut above goalkeepers who do just that – keep goal. The requirement for a ‘keeper to be as comfortable in possession as a holding midfielder is vital to the modern game, no doubt about that, but a proper, (dare I say) old-fashioned shot-stopper of de Gea’s quality should never be overlooked.
There is a world class goalkeeper sitting on a beach instead of gearing up for the first week of the season, and that is madness.
Anthony Tomas | GSFN