This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
After arriving at Old Trafford all the way back in 2011, it is fair to say David de Gea had a lot of expectations on his young shoulders. Nearly nine years later, he has firmly established himself as the number one goalkeeper at Manchester United.
His arrival coincided with Edwin van der Sar’s retirement, and the Spaniard had big gloves to fill, as the legendary Dutchman made over 250 appearances for United, saving 135 clean sheets in all competitions.
Almost immediately, De Gea was thrown in at the deep end, as he faced derby rivals Manchester City in the Community Shield. His performance drew criticism from fans and pundits alike, although Fergie’s men went on to win 3-2. He made his league debut in the 2-1 win away to West Bromwich Albion one week later and allowed a Shane Long shot to go past him into the back of the net (The Sun).
The 20-year-old was subsequently dropped for Anders Lindegaard.
However, he didn’t allow this to deter him, and carried out a vigorous training programme to meet the physical demands of the English top flight.
Following a string of four games on the bench, he earned himself a recall to the starting lineup, and demonstrated his full potential in a 3-3 draw with Chelsea.
Evidently, De Gea hasn’t once looked back, as he settled into the role of Ferguson’s first-choice keeper, and it has remained that way ever since, despite the changes in managers over the years.
In total, the Spanish international played in 80 games under the legendary Scotsman, lifting the Premier League trophy in his final season in charge.
During David Moyes’ infamous time at the Theatre of Dreams, it can be said De Gea single-handedly saved his job more often than not, and he was named Manchester United’s Player of the Year in recognition of his incredible efforts. He went on to earn this award for the next couple of seasons in a row.
Indeed, the shot stopper has consistently produced match-winning performances when the Red Devils have needed him the most, and his displays between the sticks attracted attention from La Liga giants Real Madrid in 2015.
The transfer saga overshadowed the entire summer that year, but he ended up staying at Old Trafford, and, ever the consummate professional, he returned to his posts.
Instead of turning his back on the club, De Gea helped Louis van Gaal’s side win the FA Cup in 2016, before picking up the League Cup and Europa League title under the Dutchman’s replacement, Jose Mourinho (Transfermarkt).
As a result of these heroics over the years, his market value dramatically rose from £16.2m in August 2014 to £63m by December 2018. Admittedly, this has now dropped to £36m, although this can be attributed to the economic uncertainty surrounding pandemic, and is still double the original fee the board paid Los Rojiblancos (Transfermarkt).
The 29-year-old has made 304 appearances in the Premier League so far, keeping 108 clean sheets, making a staggering 848 saves, taking 180 high claims, and successfully completing 84 sweeper clearances.
Despite his long spell with United, the veteran has only made 13 errors leading to goals, whereas former Arsenal and Chelsea keeper Petr Cech racked up 24 errors in total. His loyal service to the club has been rewarded with another contract extension which is set to expire in June 2023.
All things considered, De Gea has more than justified his price tag, as he has continued to help the Red Devils add to their impressive collection of silverware, and been recognised with a number of awards up until now.
United fans, do you think David de Gea is Manchester United’s best goalkeeper of all time? Let us know down below!
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