Manchester United would be far worse off if David de Gea hadn’t been between the sticks for them since 2011.
After the Spaniard made his 250th Premier League appearance for the Red Devils last weekend, the club triggered an option to extend his contract until the end of 2019-20 season.
Given he otherwise would’ve been allowed to leave next summer, it’s not surprise United chose to act this week.
The news was well-received by the Old Trafford faithful despite the fact De Gea hasn’t been enjoying the best of seasons so far.
Naturally, Jose Mourinho was also pleased to tie the three-time Players’ Player of the Year for a further 12 months.
The next challenge is to agree a long-term extension with De Gea - something the United boss expects to be achieved in due course.
“He is the best goalkeeper in the world and, if our ambitions are to be a big club, to be a winning club, you need the best goalkeeper in the world – and you need also some other players the best in the world,” Mourinho said, per Manchester Evening News.
“In this case, we have the best goalkeeper in the world and I know that he wants to stay.
“I know that his agent is happy to do what the player wants and I also know that the board wants him to stay and they’re working on that, so hopefully sooner or later they arrive into good conclusions.”
Gary Neville, however, feels the outcome only looks positive at face value.
The United legend claims the number of soon-to-be free agents at the club - now nine - represents an ominous trend.
“Manchester United feels like a football club which is having to overpay to keep players because they are not in a position of strength, they are running their contracts down basically,” Neville said.
“It's happened since Sir Alex Ferguson left - with Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, David de Gea before, Anthony Martial.
“Players are being allowed to run them down because the club isn't in a position of strength, then they are having to overpay.”
Neville recognises that while United aren’t the only club experiencing such difficulties, his old employers are in this scenario because of their fading status.
“Other clubs are having to pay, don't get me wrong, but are basically in a strong position where they say: 'No problem, we'll sell you and get another player for this team, they are queuing up to play' and that's the problem Manchester United have at this moment in time,” he added.
“They have lost their strength, bargaining and having to overpay and negotiate hard with their own players.
“It's a slight worry but definitely a positive that De Gea looks like he is going to sign that extension.”
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