David Moyes has hinted that Manchester United will reward goalkeeper David De Gea with a new deal following a string of excellent showings. The 23-year-old has been a shining light in an otherwise dreary campaign for the Red Devils and nailing him down on a long term contract is sure to garner some much-needed positivity at Old Trafford.
Prior to Manchester United’s most recent win against West Ham, the former Everton boss paid tribute to his ‘keeper, suggesting that the club will do their utmost to hang onto their very best talents, per David Wright in The Express:
David de Gea has been terrific.
He has been great. He came in as a good young goalkeeper and he is turning into a great goalkeeper with a lot more to come.
The club are always going to keep their best players.
The praise for the former Atletico Madrid man comes after a week where he has been key to some big steps for the Red Devils. De Gea’s performance in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against Olympiakos was absolutely critical in United progressing into the quarter-finals and keeping their season alive.
In the Champions League as a whole, De Gea has been one of the most impressive 'keepers, as Squawka illustrates:
But in the aforementioned contest in particular, a stunning double save with the scoreline poised at 1-0 not only kept the Old Trafford outfit in the tie but also helped galvanise his team to go on and win 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
It was a moment that was overlooked by some in the aftermath, but as Oliver Holt from The Mirror alludes to, De Gea’s incredible double stop was just as key as Robin van Persie’s hat-trick:
Worth remembering amid United's exultations that it took some brilliant saves from David de Gea to keep them in the tie.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) March 19, 2014
In truth, aside from a rare blip in the League Cup semi-final against Sunderland, the performance against Olympiakos was the latest in a season that has seen De Gea blossom as a Premier League goalkeeper.
After a big-money move and a five-year deal in the summer of 2011, per BBC Sport, the gangly, fresh-faced Spaniard initially failed to cope with the raucous nature of the Premier League, not to mention the pressure of replacing an iconic goalkeeper like Edwin van der Sar. But after a turbulent first few months in England, De Gea began to show his quality.
In his second season at the club, De Gea began the campaign with a superb display in a 1-0 loss to Everton, and that was to set a precedent for a much more fruitful campaign from an individual and collective perspective. United romped to the league title, with the Spaniard’s assured displays providing an often unshakeable foundation to their championship charge.
His showings in the 2012-13 clearly didn’t go unnoticed by his fellow professionals either, as De Gea made it into the Professional Footballers' Association team of the year, per ThePFA.com.
This campaign, whilst it has been one to forget for United, has been another positive one for the Spaniard. His presence seems to be growing week by week and it's worrying to imagine what position United would be in without their star stopper.
They certainly wouldn't be in the last eight of Champions League. And following on from that performance, team-mate Phil Jones claimed De Gea’s showings should now warrant him being considered amongst the very best, per Gemma Thompson of ManUtd.com:
He's world-class. He's up there with the best goalkeepers in the world. He can produce saves like that at critical moments in a match even when he's not really had much to do. He's alive to everything and won us the game.
It speaks volumes as to why United are keen to extend his stay at Old Trafford. After tying down Wayne Rooney to a bumper deal, per BBC Sport, De Gea committing his future to the club would be a major statement. One that suggests this United team won’t be in this current slump for long.
This offseason is obviously a vital one for Moyes and Manchester United, the general consensus being that a host of big-money signings are required to bolster and revitalise this current squad. But getting De Gea to extend his stay beyond 2016 could well be the best piece of business the club conduct this summer.