Ultimate United Blog

Can De Gea be better than Schmeichel?

Lost Galáctico?

Added by Philip Meese on 11 Sep 2015 21:30

By Frank Mead, Editor

As the news that Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea had signed a new contract filtered through to the rest of the football world, Ultimate United reflects on a day when every Red, and every honest football fan, can feel a little bit smug.

Who’d have thought it?

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joyous union of David De Gea and Manchester United, while raising a two fingered salute to a certain club from the Spanish capital, whose blatant intimidation tactics failed – as often happens when a bully meets their match.”

Ok, so we’re not blind. We all know that, despite this deal, there is a strong possibility that De Gea will one play for Real Madrid. After all, it’s not as though the young goalkeeper is losing out on much by signing is it? Whatever spectacles you view this through, he still plays for one of the world’s biggest clubs (the biggest, when looking through my red-tinted ones), he has more than quadrupled his basic weekly wage, and, injury permitting, a season to match either of his last two should see him claim Spain’s number one jersey ahead of next summer’s European Championships.

Although no details have been released, it’s safe to assume United have slotted in a huge release clause in this new contract. If nothing else, this will test the resolve of Real Madrid. While they spend millions of pounds every summer, it’s not often they invest heavily in their back line.

Since Florentino Pérez kicked off the “Galácticos” era in the summer of 2000 with the World Record transfer of Luis Figo from Barcelona, their entire transfer dealings since then read like a Who’s Who of the cream of World Football over the last fifteen years. In that time, although Real Madrid have spent more than €1.5 billion, roughly only a sixth of that has been spent on defenders, which shows where their priorities lie. Think of the names that have arrived at the Bernabéu in that time; Zidane, Beckham, Kaka, both Ronaldos, to name just a few. They have broken the bank time and time again, but their most expensive defender was acquired this summer, Brazilian full back Danilo from Porto, who cost just over €30 million.

It seems that they don’t see defensive players as important, as they are not the ones who sell shirts. They demonstrated this in 2003, when they refused to negotiate a wage increase for Claude Makélélé, at that time the best defensive midfielder in the world and the heartbeat of the team. He signed for Chelsea, and became the lynchpin of theirs, while Madrid went four years without winning La Liga after his departure.

With all that in mind, Madrid may not be willing to pay whatever release clause might be in De Gea’s new contract, given that, despite the ridiculous sums they splash out every summer, they refused smash the world record fee for a goalkeeper, regardless of the fact that he is one of the world’s best.

The great thing about this deal is that Madrid did not get their own way, as they are so used to doing, and I have seen plenty of reaction from fans, even those who support our rivals, that are glad this is the case. There aren’t many clubs who can realistically stand up to Madrid. In fact, 98% of clubs don’t stand a chance once Real declare their interest. This was a shining example to the world that you will not bully Manchester United. And it’s not the first time.

Let’s forget the fact that they signed Beckham from us, as everyone knows he would have stayed a Red for life if Fergie had allowed it, as he never wanted to leave. Van Nistelrooy was another one surplus to requirements. Nobody mourned the transfer of Gabriel Heinze in 2007, especially as Patrice Evra was at his peak around then. Ok, everyone knew that Cristiano Ronaldo would eventually become a Real Madrid player, but when he went, he went on United’s terms. The same might happen with De Gea, but they won’t get him for nothing if they do.

De Gea has played for Spain over the last couple of weeks, and it may be that he just wanted to sign the contract to earn more money and nail down the number one spot for his country. It may be that he decides that he wants to make the most of his career at Old Trafford, and become a main player in the young side that Louis van Gaal is putting together, hopefully starting against Liverpool tomorrow. Whatever his motives for this sudden change of heart, it is a fantastic piece of business by the Reds.

I repeat, you will not bully Manchester United. Here endeth the lesson


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Can De Gea be better than Schmeichel?

Oh Dear! That wasn’t in the script!

Added by Philip Meese on 01 Sep 2015 21:12

So what seemed like an inevitable deal this time yesterday, has fallen through at the last minute, as David De Gea is made to wait a further year in order to fulfil his dream move. Ultimate United looks at the fallout!

By Frank Mead, Editor

I can’t deny that the news of this transfer collapse made me smirk a little. Madrid left it until the last minute to make an offer that United deemed acceptable. Let’s face it, the so-called “bids” they have made so far have been nothing more than an insult. Despite the official word from the club, which documents United’s version of events, the word on the street is that United did this intentionally. I personally hope that they did.

If we’re honest, these days whenever Real Madrid flutter their eyelashes at a player, they usually get him. Every year, they line up a player and start a whispering campaign in the press. The headlines will appear all over Marca, and then Madrid will typically deny that they are interested, before using every unsettling tactic in the book to get their player. Once the player hears of their interest, his head is usually turned.

The fact that they haven’t got their own way this time should warm the hearts of fans of every other club in Europe. There aren’t too many teams that haven’t seen their prized assets taken to the Bernabéu. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they started coming onto Agüero next summer – after all, they’ll have a healthy budget because it’s not as though they will have to pay a massive transfer fee for De Gea when they sign him, is it?

One of my mates said something earlier today that made me think, and it went along the lines of “There goes our chance of ever signing Bale”. I disagree. Look at the high profile players who have left Real Madrid in recent years? Robinho was Manchester City’s first trophy signing, a statement of intent, but not exactly crucial to their plans. Mesut Özil was seen as masterstroke when Arsenal signed him two summers ago, and although he is a good player, he was one of several quality midfielders at the Bernabéu, and it is starting to look like they overpaid for him. We don’t even need to go into the Di Maria saga.

The bottom line is, Madrid only let players go when it suits them. And when the time comes that Bale is surplus to requirements at Real, they will sell him to whoever puts the money up. If that club is United, then that’s where he’ll go.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity over the last few days about our transfer dealings. Admittedly, it does seems bizarre to let so many strikers go without replacements, but we’ll cover that another time. This could be the best thing that could happen to United.

Let’s be truthful, we aren’t exactly desperate for the £29 million they were offering. With the players we have offloaded this summer, we had pretty much broke even until we signed Anthony Martial from Monaco. And now we are back in the Champions League, the coffers will start swelling at Old Trafford from the riches that come with it.

There is also the fact that De Gea will probably be ushered back into the first team after the International break. I can understand his mind not being on the job while all this transfer business was up in the air, but now he knows exactly where he will be spending this season, I expect him to knuckle down, be professional and get on with it, because he has a lot to gain by doing so. As do Manchester United.

With the European Championships less than a year away, De Gea still only has five caps for Spain. By playing well for United, both in the Premier League and Champions League, he will keep Madrid interested and claim the number 1 jersey for his country unchallenged. He will then be able to leave at the end of his contract, claim a huge signing on fee in addition to a mammoth contract, safe in the knowledge that he is first choice for Spain and its biggest club.

As for United, with one of the world’s best goalkeepers between the sticks, they have a much better chance of making an impact in both the Premier League and in Europe, which will increase their revenue and their reputation. It also gives us another season to find his replacement.

And there is also the fact that, for once, Madrid’s bullying tactics didn’t work, and they didn’t get their man. The last time I can remember that NOT happening was in the summer of 2009, when they apparently wanted Antonio Valencia, but he wanted to stay in England – and something tells me they aren’t exactly slashing their wrists at the Bernabéu because of it.  

The only way this could get better is if De Gea got the hump over the fact that Real Madrid didn’t exactly break their backs to try and sign him, and signed a new contract.


But we all know that isn’t going to happen.

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Can De Gea be better than Schmeichel?

Get Real, Madrid!

Added by Philip Meese on 10 Jul 2015 20:22

It’s no secret now that David De Gea will represent Real Madrid in the not too distant future. But with United digging in their heels, what are their motives, what are they thinking?

By Frank Mead, Editor

Barring a major change of heart, which no realistic United fan expects to happen, David De Gea will be unveiled at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as their latest Galáctico before he’s much older. It’s not that much of a surprise when you think about it – not many Spanish players grown up dreaming of living in Manchester, or supporting United.

Manchester United have made no secret of their admiration for Madrid defender Sergio Ramos (and if reports from Spain are to be believed, he seems rather keen on the idea) and the sensible option would be for both clubs to just swap players. But Madrid aren’t used to being backed into a corner. They want both, and appear to be prepared to throw their toys out of the pram if they don’t get their own way – as was demonstrated by them apparently slapping a £65 million price tag on the defender, shortly after offering United less than £20 million for one of the world’s top goalkeepers.

I personally expect De Gea will leave this window, regardless of whether Ramos heads in the opposite direction. Madrid are just trying to get him on the cheap, but why should United sell him for anything other than a record fee for a goalkeeper? For instance, if Madrid say they won’t go any higher than £20 million, then the smart thing United should do is tell them “In that case, you aren’t getting him this summer”.

What would United have to lose by taking such a stance? From reports that have come in this week, De Gea has shown “great professionalism” since returning for Pre-Season training. If we don’t sell him this summer, and he ends up being our number 1 for a further year, I would have expected him to display the same professionalism in matches – after all, if he is so keen on moving to the Bernabéu, he will want to make sure their interest doesn’t cool just because he is sulking at not getting his move (a certain England international should take note). In addition to this, there is also the small matter of the Spain number one jersey, which he will no doubt be keen to make his own.

So we lose him for nothing net summer, but you have to remember we still have the Champions League qualifiers to negotiate. There is a good chance we could get a team from Spain, Italy or Germany, and you would have to think United have a much better chance of getting through that with De Gea between the sticks – failure to qualify for the group stage would probably cost United a lot more than the pittance Madrid are offering.

And if they get into the group stages, who knows how far United could go? Nobody can predict because they have no idea who will be playing for the Reds next season. Of course, we aren’t the best team in Europe, and probably wont be whoever we sign this summer – but neither were Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea or Porto when they lifted the giant trophy. If your name’s on the trophy, you lift it.

I have never made a secret of the fact that I think Madrid are a joke of a club. They proved it once again this summer, by sacking a world class manager like Carlo Ancelotti (a manager who I believe any United fan would have welcomed with open arms, had he been the “Chosen One”), and appointing a man who had all the tools at his disposal to finally end Liverpool’s title jinx, but chose instead to concentrate on starting a spat with Fergie rather than the title race – and ended up losing both.

So the smart thing could be to keep De Gea, let him run down his contract and help us negotiate a return to the Champions League. There is always the pipe dream that he may start enjoying his football so much that he ends up signing the deal United have offered him. If only.

With the sort of money Manchester United have been throwing round this last year, they can afford to take a hit on the sort of money Madrid are offering (you sure they want you that much, Dave?). They will probably blow a similar amount on at least one player who ends up being a waste of money, every club does. But to sell him cheap, just so that we get a fee for him, could cost United in the long run. Champions League qualification is worth much more than that

I’m sure even those that hate our beloved club would get a kick out of seeing Real Madrid, just this once, fail to get their own way. Even if it was only for the time being.

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Can De Gea be better than Schmeichel?

You wanna be a legend, or not?

Added by Philip Meese on 25 Apr 2015 12:03

By Frank Mead, Editor

As the end of the season draws near, and David De Gea enters he final year of his Manchester United contract, the media this morning have been speculating that manager Louis van Gaal has offered him a long term deal, worth approximately £200,000 per week, which would make him the world’s highest paid goalkeeper. I don’t think I’m being biased when I say that he is already the world’s best goalkeeper, his saves alone have probably won us around 15 – 20 points this season, and kept us on course for a return to the Champions League.

Naturally, as Iker Casillas enters the final stages of what has been a very impressive career, a Spanish goalkeeper such as De Gea (who is already better than his international team mate ever was) is of course going to get linked to one of the Classico clubs. The Real Madrid rumours have been circulating all season, and they are worrying for United fans, who don’t want to see yet another of their superstars paraded around the Bernabéu.

One thing I have noted is that nobody can get a reading of which way De Gea is thinking at the moment. Unlike when Ronaldo left in 2009, where most United fans knew that he wasn’t going to stay at the club for his entire career, De Gea hasn’t made any kind of quote on the situation. My thoughts on this have always been that he is waiting to see whether United make a swift return to the Champions League. I don’t think it’s necessarily about money, because whether he stays at Old Trafford or goes to Madrid, he knows he will be handsomely rewarded.

I think he wants to be remembered as the greatest goalkeeper ever, which means playing at the highest level. If United aren’t playing at that level, then they cannot realistically hope to keep him, as this could also have an effect on his International career for Spain. But if United do get back in Europe’s premier competition, I think he would be a fool to leave Old Trafford at this stage of his career. Biased because I support United? Maybe, but I do have valid reasons other than this.

One of the reasons I think he would be silly to move to the Bernabéu just now is their fans. People say United’s fans are spoiled by the success we have had over the last 25 years, but Madrid’s are something else. Even Ronaldo showed his frustration at them earlier this season. Think about this, Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to United since the day he made his first team debut, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he lined up for United at some point in the future. The fans booed him, simply because he made a wrong decision a few times in one game. They expect every player who puts their shirt on to do absolutely everything perfectly. Even Ronaldo, best player in the world, has been jeered from time to time, hence his reaction to those spoiled supporters a few months ago.

At United, we even sing songs about defenders such as John O’Shea and Wes Brown, four years after they left the club. Why do we do this? Because we appreciate players who, although maybe not the most naturally talented or gifted, gave their all for the club in the time they were at Old Trafford. Pride in the shirt means everything. So if De Gea stays imagine the sort of esteem he will be held in. But Real Madrid don’t create legends (other than Casillas, Raul was probably the last one), they just buy other peoples.

Another reason I think he would be better off staying here is that I think he will be tested more. In Spain, more often than not, only Barcelona and Real Madrid challenge for the major honours. Atletico are looking awesome at the moment, despite their Champions League exit earlier this week, but the chances are that when Diego Simeone is poached by another club, they will go back to being more of a top six side. So the fact remains that 85% of teams in Spain won’t get near him most weeks, because they aren’t good enough to get past Madrid’s star studded midfield to actually shoot at him. If he stays in England, he will be the undisputed best goalkeeper in the world for the next ten to twelve years.

So if De Gea was to read this now, my message to him would be simple. Stay at Old Trafford, son, and become a legend. Or go to Madrid, and become just another player. But you don’t deserve that. More importantly, Real Madrid, and their spoiled fans, don’t deserve you.


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Can De Gea be better than Schmeichel?

He's big, he's bad, he's Spanish Dave...

Added by Philip Meese on 07 Oct 2014 20:36

By Frank Mead, Editor

This isn't some reaction to a fantastic last 5 minutes of our recent game against Everton. David De Gea has been making saves like that for years, and with some fans that has gone largely unnoticed, probably because they instantly think back to his first 18 months at United.

It's safe to say David De Gea did not have the easiest of starts to his career at Old Trafford. After arriving from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011, I dont think even he realised what a tough couple of years awaited him.

Naturally, because we had just seen Edwin Van Der Sar retire, and De Gea wasn't yet the finished article, making a few rookie mistakes (after all, at 19 years of age he was practically a veteran) a few United fans were getting on his back. He impressed me straight away, but obviously he had a lot to learn. While he was already a great shot stopper, it was clear he needed to bulk up, and toughen up. When I watched the Captain America film, the line "Jesus, someone get that kid a sandwich!" instantly made me think of De Gea. He was a skinny kid, who didn't speak the language and had a lot to learn. Yet this natural, raw talent was there.

Even in his first season, when he was under heavy criticism, he saved United quite a few times, none more so than at Stamford Bridge in February 2012, when United battled from 3 goals down to earn a draw against Chelsea. He pulled off a couple of late saves from long range shots. And he showed this on a regular basis, even back then, but what he didn't have was a commanding presence in the penalty area, a proper grasp of the English game (and language), and the body of a teenager (not surprising when you consider that he actually WAS still a teenager)

I remember watching one United game in the pub one afternoon, this was in his second season, and I was sat near a bunch of regulars who were slagging the lad off. I said to them that De Gea would be the best keeper in Europe within 5 years. They sneered at that comment. Apparently, one of these people was an ex United goalkeeper coach - although I note he isn't any more. Maybe he was one of the ones that recommended to us gems such as Carroll and Taibi. But they said I was off my head. I wonder what their opnion is now.

Towards the end of that second season, as Robin van Persie's goals powered United towards their 20th title, De Gea started to settle down. It was clear he had been putting in some serious hours in the gym, was more confident (probably through the experience he had gained in the Premier League) and commanded his penalty area better. It's no coincidence that while the rest of the team fell apart after Fergie had departed, De Gea won United's Player of the Season award. After all, can any other player look at what they did last season, and say "I was world class from start to finish"? Had it not been for De Gea, some of those beatings we received would have been much more severe. 

So while he divided opnion when he first arrived, it's fair to say that most of the ones saying negative things about him are the type of "fans" who only see what's right in front of them, but never look at the bigger picture. When I said he will be the best goalkeeper in Europe within 5 years, it was for a good reason. That reason is that the flaws in his game were the type of thing that top players usually erase from their game as they become more experienced, but you cannot learn, or teach, ability like his. 

Peter Schmeichel didn't come to Old Trafford until he was 27 years old, and he had a few teething problems when he first arrived, and spent 8 years at United. Assuming that De Gea isn't tempted to return to La Liga at some point, then by the time he is 27 he will already have spent 8 years here. Just imagine how good he will be then.

So, with all that in mind, is there any other goalkeeper you would swap him for? I cant think of one. If he isn't the best in the world at this moment, I dont think it will be long before he is. I just hope that he stays at United so we can witness it first hand.

So can he be better than Schmeichel,who is still, in my opinion, the best goalkeeper ever? It's hard to say at this moment, but he's got a better chance than most.

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