After 18 months of complex negotiations, and amid considerable interest from European rivals, David de Gea has committed himself to Manchester United by signing a four-year contract extension.
The 28-year-old Spain goalkeeper has agreed an improved deal reportedly worth £350,000 a week – including an option to extend for a fifth season – after evidently resolving to try and help restore United to former glories.
Given that his previous agreement ended in June, De Gea would have been free to talk to other clubs from January onwards. Paris Saint-Germain were among those keen to recruit him, while there has long been speculation regarding interest from Real Madrid.
He arrived at Old Trafford in 2011, joining from Atlético Madrid for £18.3m and winning his sole title in his second season when the team were still under Sir Alex Ferguson’s charge.
His decision to stay on bolsters Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s position at a time when the manager is attempting to build a squad strong enough to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the game’s major honours.
As United faltered at times last season, so too did De Gea, whose form plummeted as his future in Manchester became shrouded in increasing uncertainty. He has begun this campaign in reassuringly impressive form but thanked supporters for their understanding.
“I’m committed to continue repaying the fans for all the care they’ve shown me during the good times and the bad,” he said. “I still feel I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club’s tradition of success.”
That message was eagerly endorsed by his manager. “I’m delighted that David has committed his long-term future to the club,” said Solskjær. “Over recent years, David has proved himself to be the best in the world and a vital part of our plans as we look to take Manchester United back to where it belongs. David’s a fantastic person and his outstanding quality provides the perfect base to our defence.
“Over his time here, David has really understood the values of playing for Manchester United and now represents everything you want in a goalkeeper. As a player, he’s still hugely determined and hungry to achieve more.”
After making 367 appearances in a United shirt, winning the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League along the way, De Gea clearly struggled with the idea of turning his back on Old Trafford.
“It’s been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honour,” he said. “Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.
“As one of the senior players in the squad I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here.”