David De Gea has reportedly been told to sign his new Manchester United contract by the end of the calendar year as he approaches the expiration of his deal, with suitors said to be circling.
United are expected to trigger the option to extend the Spain No. 1's stay by another 12 months, although The Sun reported the Red Devils are "running out of patience" (h/t the Mirror's Liam Prenderville).
De Gea has been United's top performer since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013 and has played a major hand in keeping the club competitive.
More than three years have passed since De Gea signed his latest deal. Ciaran Kelly of the Manchester Evening News recently reported that negotiations appeared to be progressing smoothly:
The Sun reported that United have offered the goalkeeper a whopping £375,000 per week. That's just short of the Premier League-high £391,000 per week Alexis Sanchez is said to earn, per Football Leaks: Uncovering The Dirty Deals Behind the Beautiful Game (h/t Der Spiegel, via Telegraph's Sam Wallace).
The expense is huge but arguably necessary. Goalkeepers don't tend to earn as much as elite attackers, but De Gea has consistently proved his value to the Red Devils.
Since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, the 27-year-old has won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League, as well as being named United fans' Player of the Season on four occasions.
Those awards underline just how popular De Gea is at Old Trafford. The Times' Paul Hirst explained how disappointing it is that the club has even reached this stage:
Blogger Liam Canning used Manuel Neuer's disappointing performance in Germany's 3-0 UEFA Nations League defeat to the Netherlands on Saturday as further reason to laud De Gea:
Manager Jose Mourinho's uncertain future and poor results this season have led to disruption at the club, but announcing De Gea's extension would provide a much-needed bright patch amid the haze.
That being said, the idea of an ultimatum could have the adverse effect of ruffling De Gea if the player feels pressured into extending his United tenure.