Manchester United is yet to decide on David de Gea’s future at Old Trafford, with the club considering triggering a one-year extension on his current deal.
The Spanish goalkeeper’s current United deal is up at the end of the season, and they currently risk letting one of their most important figures leave for nothing in nine months’ time.
United earlier this week announced wage bill increases of £61.6million on the previous year – a 19.1% rise – as a result of high-profile acquisitions, and De Gea’s current deal earned him around £ 350,000 a week last season
If no extension is triggered, it could mean that De Gea could leave the club on a free transfer next summer.
During his 11-year stay at Old Trafford, the Spanish goalkeeper has played his way to the top of the pile in the United dressing room and is the only remaining player from the club’s last title-winning squad to regularly play.
But his eye-watering wages could prove to be an obstacle moving forward, with United declaring losses of £115.5m earlier this week.
Despite several high-profile errors in his United career, including a costly mistake at Brentford in the second game of this season, he has already been given the backing of his manager Erik ten Hag, who claimed: ‘I am convinced that he can do it.’
United appeared to have a successor waiting in the wings in Dean Henderson before a loan move to Nottingham Forest saw him publicly criticize his perception of how the club dealt with him.
The England keeper blasted the club in an August interview, saying: ‘To be quite honest with you, it’s probably been the toughest 12 months of my career. It’s been tough, it’s been hard and I’m so happy I’ve come out the other end of it now.
‘The conversation I had, coming out of the Euros squad (with England), was that you’re coming back here (to United) to be the No 1 goalkeeper. I got Covid, then unfortunately no one followed through with anything they told me.
‘It’s frustrating as well because I turned so many good loans down last summer for that reason and they wouldn’t let me go. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal, really, at my age. I was fuming.’
As a result, the future of Everton’s Jordan Pickford becomes all the more appealing to United, with the England keeper’s contract up at the end of 2023-24, and the Toffees surely wanting to cash in on one of their most valuable players before then.
At 28, the former Sunderland stopper is still yet to hit his prime as a goalkeeper, and as a home-grown player, he would aid any club in European competitions when it comes to registering players.
However, it would still come as a surprise if United were to let De Gea – voted club player of the season four times between 2013 and 2018 – leave for nothing at the end of his contract.
In 11 years at the club, De Gea has won the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup, as well as three Community Shields, and kept 168 clean sheets in 495 games.