There has been much talk of late about David de Gea leaving Manchester United this summer, the only destination being cited as Real Madrid. While that progression for most Iberian and South American players is usually unsurprising and often, with the very best plying their trade in England, seems inevitable, but I think many people are forgetting something very important about David De Gea's past: His Atletico Madrid loyalties.
For all the rumors that have been flying around for almost a year now, they are just that, rumors. Nothing concrete has come out, and the player, nor anyone related to either club has even mentioned the topic. The closest thing is his girlfriend complaining about Manchester being a bit miserable, and how much attention that received in the media hints that really there is nothing concrete about the rumors.
Other that his Atletico loyalties, there are various other mitigating factors which make me seriously doubt the credibility of the rumors which seemingly come out every week about him making the move to Madrid.
Firstly, he's thoroughly adored at United. He's been our best player for two years now, and while that wouldn't necessarily stop a player leaving (various examples spring to mind), when you consider he'd be leaving adoration at United for a club full of superstars, and a fanbase with intense loyalty for their long term number one and national legend, known affectionately as San Iker. What's more, his history would mean that even the slightest drop in form would lead to more animosity than most other signings, and the Madrid fan's fickle-ness is famous, just look at Gareth Bale's treatment of late.
Furthermore, he'd be competing against Casillas, and while he's far from the untouchable figure of a few years ago, De Gea would certainly face still competition for the number one spot if he did make the move. Though i'm sure he'd relish this in many ways, it seems nonsensical to swap the undisputed number one shirt at one of Europe's biggest clubs, for a club that, though certainly more famous Spanish speaking world, he has no personal allegiance or particular love for, at least if his Atletico loyalties are anything to go by.
What's more, Louis van Gaal's project at Old Trafford should be enough to excite and entice most players. Last year under David Moyes, I'm sure the temptation to leave would have been a lot greater. United looked like a plummeting giant in free fall, with few knowing where the collapse would stop (though United's size and importance as a club hinted that it wouldn't go the same way as some of the footballing disasters of the last few decades). But almost a year on, and there's new optimism at the club, and most will expect United to be genuine challengers for major titles both at home, and in Europe's elite competition next year.
And what's more, van Gaal is playing the type of football that a goalkeeper like de Gea should love. Building and creating from the back, regularly involving him in the game and allowing him to make the most of his excellent distribution. While this, and United's resurgence aren't enough alone to keep an Iberian or Latin American player away from the fame and history of Real Madrid, this, coupled with his Atletico loyalties make me think the rumors are just that, rumors.
It was reported he broke down in tears at the prospect of leaving his boyhood club for Manchester United, and as a local Madrid boy, I'm sure he would feel the stigma of moving to his boyhood club's fierce rivals.
Unlike mercenaries like Carlos Tevez, surely this would be an impossible decision. It would stigmatise him from his first footballing love, and mean he could never play there again, and turn the fans who he once considered himself one of, and who still consider him one of their own, against him irrevocably.
Wait and see how Atleti's resurgence under Diego Simeone goes David, and if one day in a few years your boyhood club come knocking, i'm sure no United fan would begrudge you moving home. But for now, you're happy and adored in Manchester, and better to keep it that way. I am almost certain David De Gea will still be a Manchester United player next summer, and I doubt he'll ever make the switch to Real Madrid the press seem to certain about.
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