United face battle for new De Gea contract
Manchester United face a battle to convince David de Gea to stay at Old Trafford beyond the end of his contract, writes James Ducker.
United are invoking an option to extend the Spain goalkeeper's deal by 12 months until the end of next season. But talks over a new long-term contract have reached an impasse and United are under the growing threat of losing De Gea for nothing in June 2020, or being forced to cash in on him before then.
United have time to persuade De Gea that his long-term future would be best served at the club but the goalkeeper, who turns 28 next month, wants to be competing for the top domestic and European honours and United's struggles have raised doubts about their ability to challenge.
With the future of manager Jose Mourinho also up in the air, De Gea is reluctant to commit what are likely to be his peak years to United when there is so much uncertainty on and off the pitch.
Even if a new manager did come in, it is likely De Gea would need to see a huge uplift in United's competitiveness for his thinking to change.
Officials met De Gea's agent Jorge Mendes in London on Friday but were unable to come to an agreement over a new contract and the club will now have their work cut out trying to retain their best player beyond the short term.
De Gea is playing in front of an ever-changing back line and United's defensive woes have again underlined how important a player he is . (© Daily Telegraph, London)