Manchester United fans will have been buoyed by the news that Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea has signed a new four-year contract, but history tells us that new deals doesn't always translate to long-term futures.
After what was a tiring transfer saga in the summer window, De Gea did not get his dream move to ten-time Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Who is to blame for that remains unclear, with both clubs blaming each other for a variety of reasons and it’s unlikely we’ll ever find a clear answer.
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In the short-term future, though, his situation couldn't be clearer. The Spaniard, as reported by the Telegraph, has signed a new four-year contract extension worth £200,000-per-week.
Confusion surrounds the deal. On the one hand, it could mean that De Gea is genuinely happy to stay at United, but on the other, it could merely be a case of securing his future with the hope still that Madrid will come back in for him.
And while his new deal might look good on paper from a footballing and PR standpoint, it doesn’t indicate that the 24-year-old will be a United player in 2019, or even by the summer of 2016.
The reason for this is that history suggests new contracts for seemingly outgoing players are just as likely to lead to a deal being struck than to prevent one.
In December 2013, then-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez put pen to paper to a new contract until 2018 becoming the Reds' highest paid player ever – this was after Arsenal tried to lure Suarez with their famous £40,000,001 bid.
But after being named 2013/14 PFA and FWA Player of the Year, Suarez was sold to FC Barcelona in July 2014.
The same goes for Fabian Delph. In January 2015 he signed a new four-and-a-half year deal when it appeared he would be running down his current Aston Villa contract and leaving on a free – he was eventually sold to Manchester City in July.
There’s no confirmation as to why De Gea has signed a new contract. Whether he has been talked into signing so United can get a larger transfer fee for him next year or whether a new release clause has been inserted so United get the value Madrid were unwilling to pay this summer is unforeseen.
What the new contract will suggest, though, is an imminent return for De Gea as the Red Devils' no.1, which is critical to the Spaniard if, in turn, he is to be chosen as Spain’s no.1 at next year’s European Championships in France.
The cynic in me can't help but feel this new contract serves only to get both De Gea and United a better deal next summer, but who knows, perhaps De Gea has made an unprecedented U-turn and would rather stay in Manchester rather than move to the famous Los Blancos.
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