As Manchester United prepare for their battle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend, contract extensions behind the scenes have been made a priority to those involved at the club.

With a number of United’s first-team stars able to negotiate freely with European clubs come January, Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman and decision maker, will have to operate quickly to protect his prized assets.

The Red Devils might be arguably the biggest club in the world – their revenues certainly point that way – but for such a global enterprise, it’s baffling to see them put in a position where they are powerless to the players’ demands. Leaving contracts until the 11th hour is no way to negotiate, but United find themselves in this scenario once again with the likes of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Luke Shaw and David de Gea, as well as Marouane Fellaini during the first six months of this year.

It’s not to say that Man United will not tie these players down, because most will stay due to the gigantic wages they have already been put on and won’t receive anywhere else, but it’s the more marketable assets, such as De Gea, that should worry the club with so little time on their contracts.

The Spain international is into the final year of his contract, though United do have the option to extend it a further 12 months, which is more than likely to happen if the current impasse in negotiations continues.

Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, De Gea has been a constant shining light in a period of darkness. Such was United’s dire state of affairs under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the Spaniard picked up Manchester United’s Player of the Year award three years on the bounce.

De Gea was the first goalkeeper to ever win the award and continued to claim it after such disappointing performances from his outfield teammates. Another Spaniard, Herrera, won it in 2017, but De Gea once again got his hands on it last season, making it his fourth trophy. No one has won it more in the history of the award since its inception in 1987.

Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David De Gea poses for a photograph as he arrives for The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony


The Real Madrid Story

There was a time, in the summer of 2015, when De Gea became seduced by the lure of Real Madrid, to which no one could truly blame him for. The former Atlético Madrid goalkeeper had been in constant contact with Los Blancos, after president Florentino Pérez made him a primary target. Real, however, left it too late in the transfer window to complete the move and time, embarrassingly, ran out. De Gea was said to be distraught, but his professionalism to his current employer was exemplary.

Some players would sulk until January and demand a move away – just as Philippe Coutinho and Virgil van Dijk did – but De Gea kept his head down and didn’t let his personal emotions get in the way of his performances. The Spaniard, in the end, had a change of heart and signed his most recent, four-year deal that sees him at the club until the summer of 2019 (without the extension).

There were still murmurs over the Madrid-based club coming back in for De Gea last summer, but Pérez decided to opt for Belgium international Thibaut Courtois. Knowing that he would be cheaper due to his standoff with Chelsea, and near to De Gea’s world-class level on the pitch, Real signed their new first choice goalkeeper and left De Gea in Manchester.

Although Real’s interest will now have disappeared, other European heavyweights will be watching with interest as to how De Gea’s contract negotiations develop. If they believe, by talking to members around the player’s camp, he might be swayed by a move to a different club – such as Paris Saint-Germain – then Manchester United have another battle on their hands.

Why David De Gea Deserves a Bumper Contract

With the acquisition of Alexis Sánchez, as well as Paul Pogba in 2016, De Gea is rightly looking at his current contract and asking that he is paid the equivalent as United’s two highest earners. It is fair to say that, this season as well as the last few with Pogba, De Gea has outperformed both players and his level has rarely dropped since emerging as United’s number one. He feels it’s only fair that he is rewarded in numerical terms.

Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United shakes hands with David De Gea

To put it bluntly, without De Gea, Man United would be in a world of trouble. They might not like succumbing to a player’s demands, but replacing him would be near enough impossible. Only Jan Oblak, of Atlético Madrid, is on the same level in the world right now, and he is unlikely to join at cheap expense.

The Slovenian might not ask for as much in wages, but the transfer fee is likely to be the goalkeeper’s release clause, rumoured to be around £90 million, which will blow a large dent in the transfer kitty. There is also the unknown over whether Oblak can adapt to English football, or how long it will take, in a similar way to when De Gea first came to the North West. There are no guarantees with new players, whereas De Gea has shown his consistent quality throughout his years at the club.

Time and time again, De Gea has kept United in matches due to spectacular saves with both his hands and feet. No other player has given what he has in a United shirt with his performances week in, week out, which is the exact reason as to why he deserves a new bumper contract. Few players in the world can warrant a £300,000+ wage per-week, but De Gea is certainly one.

David De Gea to sign before 2nd September 2019:

Paris Saint-Germain


Bayern Munich



Odds are correct at the time of posting

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