At one point, David de Gea stood atop the goalkeeping world. One of the best shot-stoppers for a brief time; most expected the Spaniard to still be playing at a high level.
Instead, his fall from relevancy has been barely considered.

For a few years, arguments existed for de Gea as the best keeper in the world. Then, as United fell, so did his image.

What’s so surprising about this situation was that de Gea was by no means the worst keeper in the Prem. No club coming after him this summer or winter surely surprised both the player and fans. After all, this is a world where Kepa is playing for Real Madrid.

The Spaniard’s future in the sport is confusing. If a club wanted him, they surely should have called by now, right? Perhaps his future is similar to Isco’s: wait for a role no matter what it is and outperform expectations.

A future that promised so much glory at both the club and international level is all but forgotten. Casillas’ successor is now a ghost wandering around for a role that might never come back.


Downfalls often happen fast and publicly. There’s just something off about the lack of attention towards de Gea’s situation.

Without focusing too much on his past, de Gea belongs among the best keepers of the Prem. There were seasons where the keeper kept United away from total catastrophe. For every glaring mistake, there were two or three matches where he won them all by one or three points.

United, since Ferguson’s departure, continues to play the blame game, passing it from person to person. When his performances dipped, and they did, it became too easy to place the failures on a keeper. It’s a position often heralded as the loneliest, and in this case, it’s hard to argue against it.

Even with his performances falling from his peak, there’s enough to suggest that he’s still a starting-caliber keeper. United correctly moved for Onana, but de Gea should have found a new club.

PHOTO: Manchester United

In his final season, de Gea still played at an above-average level. One of the lower goals against tallies paired with a still excellent save percentage is the hallmark of a good keeper. While he was never good with his feet, his shot-stopping performances should place him well for any opening. 

Being completely objective, there are concerning numbers as well. He can’t stop a cross to save his life, and his goal kicks are below average. There has been a real and noticeable dip since his peak, but it’s not irredeemable.

For a player once deemed as the next Casillas, it’s fair to say that this portion of de Gea’s career is disappointing. There’s a good chance his career is not totally over, though, as his performances haven’t completely fallen off a cliff.


What’s next for de Gea? Is his career truly over, or will he see a renaissance?


Fortunately for de Gea, a former Spain teammate provides a glimmer of hope. After a good career at Real Madrid, Isco’s career seemed over after Sevilla cut him in December 2022. Looking for a new start, Isco spent six months trying to find a new home.

Just when his career seemed over, Real Betis came calling.  With no expectations, Isco blew the team away and earned an extension until 2027. Isco went from out of football to playing for a good team.

In an ideal world, this is the future for de Gea. However, with almost a year since his last appearance, time does seem to be dwindling.

PHOTO: Goal

Perhaps the best spot for de Gea would be a newly promoted side. One that desperately needs veteran experience in between the posts in their first season up. Even in a backup spot with cup starts, it’s easy to envision him at a European club.

However, he could follow the path of  Roman Bürki, who faced criticism at Dortmund and found success in MLS. Expansion clubs in MLS will always pursue big-name free agents, and San Diego  FC feels like a realistic destination for the Spaniard. MLS is a league where de Gea would find success, given the easy translation that it has been for more keepers.

Enough examples exist to believe that de Gea still has a place in football. Perhaps it’s with a newly promoted side or in MLS, but it’s a shame to see him without football.


Unless something drastic changes, de Gea will have gone a year without playing a minute of competitive football. From being Spain’s man in goal to this, it’s been a roller coaster ride for de Gea.
When he was at his best, de Gea struck fear into opposing strikers, now he’s but a forgotten piece of United’s troubled recent history.

PHOTO: Goal

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