Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has been linked with an exit this summer, but if Louis Van Gaal gives the green light it may have a disastrous impact on the club’s hopes of competing for a Premier League title next season.
As reported by The Guardian, the Spaniard joined his United teammates as they flew out for their pre-season tour on Monday.
However, the rumours persist that he will soon be on his way, and a switch to Real Madrid is never far from the agenda when discussing the 24-year-old’s future; the Independent are just one source to have reported that De Gea has told the Red Devils he wants to move to the Bernabeu.
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While the likes of Roberto Firmino, Memphis Depay and Raheem Sterling will steal a significant part of transfer coverage this summer, a solid base from which to work is crucial for any side harbouring hopes of winning the Premier League. The future of De Gea may prove to be as decisive for the coming campaign as the eventual destinations of the three aforementioned attacking sters.
It has been a factor for every club that has dominated over the last two decades, and next season will be no different as Van Gaal continues to strengthen his squad and build a new core.
Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin all represent intelligent moves by United, and each could contribute to the Red Devils starting XI. However, arguably the best transfer move van Gaal could make this summer would be not sacrificing De Gea in order to land another target in Sergio Ramos.
Although Real Madrid have now sold Iker Casillas and are likely to be in the market for a new ‘keeper, it appears as though Ramos is going nowhere after he was handed the captain’s armband, according to the Independent.
Provided that Ramos is now happy in the Spanish capital, that could mean that Madrid are only interested in signing De Gea outright with no player-exchange.
If that is the case, then Van Gaal would be wise to dismiss the proposition immediately, as losing the Spanish international would put him at an immediate disadvantage ahead of the coming campaign. Considering how well the keeper has adapted to life in Manchester and demonstrated how he can be a valuable contributor between the sticks, his loss would surely hurt United significantly.
United, of all clubs, should recognise how difficult it is to have a world-class operator in that position. Between the successful reigns of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van Der Sar, they certainly had their fair share of underwhelming contributors between the sticks.
Petr Cech’s move to Arsenal will arguably turn out to be the move of the summer, and Chelsea captain John Terry is under no illusions as to how important he could be for the Gunners next season by insisting that he can make a title race-defining difference, as reported by ESPN.
To have an individual that the team can trust and depend upon without any doubts is a rarity, and De Gea showed last season how important he can be by keeping United in games and having a direct impact on their success.
The Premier League giants are well on course to become a real threat again next season, but they risk undoing all that good work by selling a player that has built that familiarity and trust. If United can keep hold of De Gea, he could prove to be a difference-maker in the long term; if they lose him, van Gaal risks undermining all of his recent good work in the transfer market.