By 90Min
November 29, 2018

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea expressed that he is 'really happy' at Old Trafford as recently as September when he gave a rare appearance in front of the media at a press conference prior to the Champions League away clash against Young Boys in Bern.

At that same press conference he also noted that he feels 'really loved' by the fans.

It is difficult to not believe him. De Gea has seen United supporters stand by him during difficult times and always loudly sing his praises. A top save will invariably send chants of 'David de Gea' ringing round Old Trafford and the Spanish stopper is grateful for the appreciation.

Michael Regan/GettyImages

It was evident more than ever during Stoke's visit to Old Trafford last season, a game played on a Monday night in darkest January and beset by truly awful weather conditions.

The Potters were poor and De Gea had precious little to do as United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. His biggest battle that evening was braving the elements as freezing air, swirling wind and driving rain combined into one cruel and evil force.

With United in full control of the game, 'David de Gea' was the chant that erupted around the stadium as the wind blew icy rain into the goalkeeper's face and he struggled to stay warm.

In that moment any player hailing from sunnier climes might have questioned their decision to play football in England, but the fans that night, and at every game, wanted De Gea to know how much they appreciate him serving their club. On several occasions during the incessant chanting he threw up a grateful hand to acknowledge the adoration from all around him.

Compare that to the response he received from the media and public back home in Spain during the World Cup when an uncharacteristic mistake against Portugal immediately led for calls for him to be dropped. Then consider how poorly Bernabeu legend Iker Casillas was treated by Real Madrid fans towards the end of his 25 years of loyal service to the club.

De Gea, who never actively pushed to leave Old Trafford even he was on the verge of joining Real in 2015, has a very good thing going in Manchester and he knows it. His long-term girlfriend Edurne, once allegedly a driving force behind tempting him home to Spain, is believed to have relocated to the north west England as well, one less factor. They have a good and quiet life together in their Cheshire abode, right down to walking pet dog Maxto in the local park.

There is gossip that De Gea is in line for a new United worth up to £300,000-per-week, not only making him one of the top earners at the club - but the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. It is certainly fitting for a player of his standing and he is thought to 'want' to sign.

However, so far a firm agreement has not happened and there are growing suggestions that talks have stalled due to concerns over United's recent failure to compete for honours. United have however opted to take up the option to extend De Gea's contract for another year - something which they've had the power to do since he re-signed.

Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

De Gea has won a Premier League title during his time in England. But that was now more than five years ago and United hadn't finished higher than fourth in the table until last season - even when they did manage to finish second, they were still a distant 19 points off the top.

It is completely fair and understandable for a player regularly told he is the best in the world in his position to want to win major trophies. As hard as it is to accept, De Gea is currently 'wasting' his career playing for a club who haven't been good enough to call themselves the best in England, let alone the best in Europe and beyond. Most fans would probably agree and wouldn't hold it against should he not sign and join and United be forced to sell to Juventus or PSG.

But United are not a powerless passenger in this saga. Throwing more money at De Gea might not help, but taking decisive action to convince him that committing to the club and staying at Old Trafford will help him achieve his ambitions almost certainly will.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

United have to sort out the mess that the club has become. As far as management, coaching and recruitment is concerned there appears to have been little strategy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, lurching from one idea to the next, proving just how much control the legendary boss had. It needs a clearer structure, the type increasingly put in place by a number of other top Premier League teams.

The only way United will be able to compete again is by making positive changes to the way the club is run. If they can do that and prove to De Gea the ambition to get back to the top is there, he would have no reason to leave and could anchor a fresh wave of success. 

But it really needs to start happening fast, as De Gea's current contract will not go any further than 2020.

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