When Edwin van der Sar retired questions were raised as to how Manchester United would replace the legendary Dutch stopper. But Sir Alex Ferguson took a leap of faith and signed Atletico Madrid keeper David De Gea for a fee in the region of £17m.
People had their doubts about whether De Gea would be able to match the expectations which came with his price tag. The Spanish shot-stopper's United career began poorly with below-par performances against Man City in the Community Shield and against West Brom in the first match of the season.
De Gea's spot in the team came into contention after some high-profile errors. Pundits criticised him for being too lightweight and unable to deal with the batterings from opposition strikers to high balls when he first arrived. He soon handed over the number one spot to Anders Lindegaard.
But the former Atletico Madrid man came back strong from injury and returned against rivals Chelsea pulling off a stunning saves particularly one from a Juan Mata free kick. This performance turned around and possibly saved his Manchester United career. He safely retained his number one spot from then on.
De Gea's second season proved to be an excellent one as his performances in front of goal improved. He was man of the match in the Champions League match against Real Madrid and kept United in the tie. He earned plaudits from pundits who criticized him a year ago. De Gea not only won the Premier League that season but also earned a place in the PFA Team of the year for his outstanding performances.
This year the Spanish goalkeeper has seen his side struggle but it hasn't deterred his determination and as a result he has performed exceptionally. Apart from Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj the only positives from United's terrible season has been David De Gea.
His reflexes, aerial abilities, ball distribution, cross handling and other aspects of the game have improved drastically. He is well built and no longer that lanky keeper who was once dominated by players.
The big question is: what would happen if De Gea left? United would be deep into mid-table and David Moyes would have been sacked by now. It is vital to the survival of the Scot that he gets De Gea to sign a new contract for the long term.
De Gea certainly has the potential and composure to become one of the best keepers in the world even better than Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar were for the Red Devils in their time.
Do you think David De Gea can become one of the best keepers in the world?
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