Manchester United are incredibly fortunate that David de Gea is still a Red Devil.
The Spaniard, among the top three goalkeepers in the world, has come exceedingly close to escaping United’s recent woes and joining Real Madrid.
Last summer, a deal with the European champions was scuppered at the last minute because paperwork was not signed off in time.
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And, despite De Gea signing a four-year contract in September, rumours were rife that the 25-year-old could make the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.
But the move which forever seemed inevitable never happened. In part due to the impressive performances of Keylor Navas in Spain but also because of a certain arrival at the Theatre of Dreams.
According to the Daily Record’s Duncan Castles, De Gea had begun personal preparations to sign for Madrid when it became apparent to him that Louis van Gaal might survive the chop.
De Gea, who made sure his new contract included a one-off option for Los Blancos to sign him for €60 million this summer, had no intention of sticking around under Van Gaal’s leadership for a third season. Not only were United stumbling but the Dutchman initially planned to replace De Gea in the first team.
So when Van Gaal was sacked and Jose Mourinho was announced as his replacement, De Gea reconsidered his decision to leave. The opportunity to work with the multiple Champions League winner was too appealing to the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper.
It shows how Mourinho’s arrival has breathed new life into a team that hasn’t finished higher than fourth in its previous three seasons. The former Chelsea boss hasn’t even managed a single competitive game and yet it’s fair to say United’s slide has been halted.
Not only did he convince De Gea to stay, but he’s convinced Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to join. Given that his first two signings have given up Champions League football, while Ibrahimovic could have easily landed at a club who will play in Europe’s elite tournament, that’s quite an achievement.
If Van Gaal was still in charge, De Gea probably wouldn’t be at the club and United supporters would have another season of Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind starting on a regular basis.
Now, they’re waiting for the signing of Paul Pogba to be announced. How times have changed.
De Gea is confident
With the new players on board, De Gea reckons Mourinho is building a squad that can win United’s first league title since 2013.
When asked if United can compete for the Premier League title, he said: “Of course, of course,” per Sky Sports.
"I think we signed top players, really good players. We are Manchester United and we want to fight for everything.
"I feel for the fans, for the club and the players (that something exciting is coming) - you feel like it is a new era. I think the club is really strong now. The players, we want to everything and hopefully we can do it."