David de Gea is still waiting on the offer of a new contract from Manchester United. The Spain international has less than 16 months remaining on his current deal and is once again the subject of interest from hometown club Real Madrid.
Although United hold an option to extend De Gea’s deal until the summer of 2020, both sides recognise that an individual elected the Premier League’s best goalkeeper for four of the last five seasons merits an upgrade on his financial terms. Since signing new terms in September 2015, De Gea’s salary has fallen significantly behind that of top earners Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the 27-year-old’s representatives have been pushing for an improved deal since last year. The Old Trafford club, however, has a history of allowing player contracts to run close to term before renewing them, often relying on single-season options to extend the renegotiation process. “They are too slow,” said a close friend of the goalkeeper. “It’s always like this.”
United’s delay on De Gea has allowed Madrid’s long standing interest in the player to return to the fore. Club president Florentino Perez wants to replace Keylor Navas and having failed to convince Kepa Arrizabalaga to leave Athletic Bilbao at the end of this season has refocused on Spain’s number one.
De Gea agreed to join the European champions in 2015 only for the deal to fall through in the final seconds of the summer transfer window when United failed to deliver documentation on time. He then signed a new contract at Old Trafford which included a €60million exit clause in Madrid’s favour applicable solely in June 2016.
Jose Mourinho’s arrival as manager helped persuade De Gea to stay at that point and the Portuguese is again working to retain a player with whom he shares an agent. “The option, it’s obvious that we’re not going to let the option disappear,” said Mourinho recently.
“A goalkeeper like he is, and obviously a club that wants to be better and better and better, we are not going to let that year option go away. We are going to try. Mr [United executive vice-chairman, Ed] Woodward is not on holiday. He barely has holidays. Of course he’s going to try to give him a contract that keeps him here for much longer than that option that of course we are going to execute.
“I just trust the board and the work they do. I don’t negotiate players, I don’t discuss numbers and contracts. I just say what is obvious. Anyone of you would say the same: David is to keep.”