Manchester United are expected to resume talks with David De Gea about a new contract after his wedding this weekend.
De Gea’s contract expires on Friday June 30 at midnight but the 32-year-old is enjoying private time with his family in Spain and United do not want to interrupt that.
United, it is thought, will continue face-to-face discussions with De Gea in due course.
De Gea, who joined Man Utd from Atletico Madrid in 2011, has made 545 appearances since moving to Old Trafford and broke the club’s clean sheets record earlier this season, surpassing Peter Schmeichel.
The Spaniard has endured a tough season with multiple high-profile errors and growing scrutiny on his shortcomings in possession, but still managed to claim the Premier League’s Golden Glove award.
United have a variety of goalkeeping options for next season, even if talks with De Gea break down, with Dean Henderson returning from his loan at Nottingham Forest and Tom Heaton’s contract extended.
Sky in Italy are reporting that United are expected to make a move for Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana, who worked with Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag at Ajax previously.
Why Ten Hag would want a change at No 1
Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:
Ten Hag immediately identified – based on his preferred style of play at Ajax – that De Gea wouldn’t fit. His profile didn’t meet the criteria based on his new manager’s possession-based approach.
There were immediate teething issues, as witnessed in the 4-0 humbling at Brentford – a ‘disasterclass’ for De Gea, but the result of not playing to the strengths of those at Ten Hag’s disposal.
Blame could be apportioned on both sides, and the United boss has acknowledged there will be pain along the way as he seeks to mould United into his image. Lessons were learned as the goalkeeper was instructed to kick long against high-pressing teams.
United have made contact with Inter Milan over Andre Onana, and have looked at Brentford’s David Raya and Porto’s Diogo Costa. Ten Hag publicly backed De Gea, but the Dutchman never guaranteed he would be No 1 next season even if he had stayed.
Dean Henderson is back at the club after his loan spell at Nottingham Forest ended, so United could opt to promote from within.
For De Gea, every stellar performance has been decontextualized by lapses in concentration. Ten Hag retains a desire to build a side comfortable throughout in build-up play, with a goalkeeper that does not hesitate coming off his line.
We remember how Said Benrahma’s shot was allowed to go through him in defeat at West Ham, how he was culpable to some degree on all three of Sevilla’s second-leg goals to knock United out of the Europa League.
There was then criticism of how Ilkay Gundogan’s second in United’s FA Cup final loss against Manchester City was allowed to travel so far without De Gea readjusting his feet.
In the crucial moments, in the key games, how often has he been the man for the big occasion?
De Gea’s desire is to remain playing at the highest level. Taking another lucrative payday in Saudi Arabia would be an acceptance that those days are behind him.
United have other fires to fight this summer. Beyond the protracted takeover, there is a desire to recruit at least one new striker, with interest remaining in Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund.
There is the hope that the transfer budget can be increased by player sales, in conjunction with the futures of captain Harry Maguire, Fred, Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial.
But all that would be pushed lower down the pecking order if the endgame to the De Gea conundrum leaves a vacancy at No 1.
Was De Gea the difference in adding a top-four berth to Carabao Cup success, or would the 14-point gap to Man City have been closer with a different goalkeeper?
Having played every minute, he certainly played his part – but the extent to which his presence defined United’s fate still lingers.
For all of United’s myriad issues to be resolved, the absence of a first-choice stopper would emerge as Ten Hag’s top priority and only concern.
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