Any Manchester United fan would agree David De Gea hasn’t looked himself since the end of last season.
The man widely recognised as the best goalkeeper on the planet endured a torrid time at the 2018 World Cup, where he conceded six goals including a howler in Spain’s opening fixture against Portugal.
Worryingly for the Red Devils faithful, his shaky form in Russia seems to have trickled into the 2018-19 campaign, too.
United - who currently sixth in the Premier League - have conceded 27 goals and kept just five clean sheets in De Gea’s 22 appearances across all competitions.
While that’s not to say the Spaniard has been culpable every time the opposition have scored, there’s little doubt his confidence looks rattled.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to tighten what was a rather porous defence under Jose Mourinho, and he firmly believes De Gea is crucial to doing so.
“We have the best goalkeeper in the world, he's been here eight years and he is still a young keeper developing, it's fantastic for me to come in,” the newly appointed intern boss said, per Manchester Evening News.
“Maybe I'll have to do some finishing training to take him down a peg a little bit!”
Irrespective of whether Solskjaer remains in charge at Old Trafford beyond this term, he could do without the ongoing speculation surrounding De Gea’s own future.
The good news for him is that ESPN claim the former Atletico Madrid stopper’s interest in returning to Spain has recently waned - even before Mourinho was axed.
Even with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain also thought to be keeping tabs on De Gea, the report makes it quite clear the situation has swung in the Red Devils’ favour.
ESPN states: “…Even before the dismissal of manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday, the United hierarchy had become aware of De Gea's readiness to consider a new deal worth in the region of £350,000 a week to stay at the club.”
Juve are understood to be reluctant to match such an expensive offer, while PSG are increasingly confident France international Alphonse Areola can become their long-term goalkeeper.
Two potential concerns remain, however.
Firstly, De Gea has always insisted United must convince him of their ambition to challenge for the biggest honours.
Secondly, the fact his pop star girlfriend Edurne Garcia continues to live in his homeland gives Real Madrid and Barcelona an in that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
It goes without saying, nothing is confirmed unless De Gea puts pen to paper on a multi-year extension - and even those don’t mean much these days.News Now - Sport News