Two sides of the David De Gea coin

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Real Madrid are a relentless predator in the market-place: once they have their teeth in a player, they rarely let him go.  They bully, they manipulate, and they make Summer-long sagas truly unbearable for everyone involved.

Hopefully, then, the 2015 version of their talent-grab will be short and relatively painless.

Within the coming weeks, David De Gea is expected to return to the Spanish capital and decline Manchester United’s offer of a lucrative new contract.

Speaking from a non partisan perspective, that would be a real shame. De Gea’s value to United is very obvious, but he’s also an asset to the league as a whole - and someone who’s worthy of admiration. It’s regrettable that, given how hard he’s had to work to adapt to English football and what a successful case study he’s provided into goalkeeping adjustment, he’s ready to leave so soon.  Having tailored his game to this division and undergone such trauma throughout, it almost seems wasteful for him to walk away having spent so little time enjoying the status of being one of the division’s very best.

Equally, while De Gea may be assumed to be performing at the limits of his potential, at just twenty-four, his prime is theoretically years away and it’s hugely regrettable that English supporters - not just Manchester United fans - won’t get to witness that full maturation first-hand.

The Spaniard is a very watchable player; he plays his position in an unorthodox way and there’s a creative element to his goalkeeping which makes him fascinating. He uses his feet very well, the body positions he affects in one-on-one situations are quite original and, while he’s not doing anything revolutionary, there’s more than a hint of innovation about his style. (FourFourTwo article).

Similarly, when a goalkeeper combines such sharp reflexes with De Gea’s almost freakish arm-span, the results are nearly always spectacular - on a purely superficial level, this guy would have been a human highlight-reel over the next decade and, if and when he does leave, we will all be losing something.

But Madrid is Madrid. It’s easy to assume that De Gea will have the option to return home next Summer and the one after, but that’s probably not the case. We all know how this club operates: their transfer-policy is just the footballing equivalent of ‘shiny new toy’ syndrome. De Gea is absolutely good enough to replace the listing Iker Casillas and he’s also of the calibre to potentially hold down a place at the Santiago Bernabeu over the next decade, but there’s always the threat that, if he were to refuse Madrid’s offer this time around, the opportunity might not come again.

This might just be one of those rare situations in which a major transfer gets completed with minimal acrimony; we’d all love him to stay, but most seem to - or should - accept that the pull is just going to be too strong.

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