David de Gea has transformed from questionable signing to master-stroke since his arrival at Manchester United in 2011.
Given that he arrived at Old Trafford when he was just 20, it is no surprise it took him time to settle. But he is now unquestionably one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe, on track to challenge Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois as the best in the business over the next decade.
With United struggling, De Gea has been one of their few shining lights, but now an old rumour has resurfaced in Spain, claiming the player has his eye on a move to Real Madrid.
This story has been doing the rounds for some time, but Mundo Deportivo has picked up on a claim that De Gea has already signed a preliminary agreement to move to the Bernabeu next season.
But quite simply, that is all but impossible for a number of reasons.
De Gea has a contract at Old Trafford until the summer of 2016, meaning United have no reason to sell. Given that he is also the bedrock on which to build the next United defence, David Moyes would be foolish in the extreme to part with him.
Instead he should be doing everything in his power to get him to follow Wayne Rooney and commit his long-term future to the club.
Of course if United are in the same position next year, with the stopper just a year away from the end of his deal and the rumours persisting, then perhaps it is time to get worried. But for now, why should Moyes sell one of his best and most consistent performers? This summer it simply will not happen.
Then there is De Gea’s history – the fact that he played for Real’s fierce rivals Atletico Madrid. While not a deal-breaker in terms of any potential move, it takes a brave man to switch allegiances, even if there has been a considerable amount of time in between.
While United are likely to soon part with a number of players, in what could well be their busiest summer for many years in terms of both incomings and outgoings, De Gea is a stone-wall certainty to remain for some time yet.
While Moyes will not want to lose him on a free in two years, he will surely be even more reluctant to sell a fan favourite in what could be his make-or-break pre-season.
image: © James Boyes