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