Manchester United were wrong to sign David De Gea to a new long-term deal

Manchester United re-signed goalkeeper David De Gea to a new long-term contract in mid-September after the shot-stopper had gone into the final season of his previous deal.

Avoiding a panic that would have seen their first-choice goalie leave the club on a free transfer, the club tied De Gea down until 2023. In the club’s haste to get the goalkeeper on the books for four more years, they ignored 22-year-old academy graduate Dean Henderson, who had been loaned out to Premier League new boys Sheffield United.

De Gea or Henderson?

Unfortunately for Henderson, he wasn’t able to show just how good he has become at Bramall Lane when Manchester United arrived last Sunday. The England U21 international was banned from playing against his parent club. Had Henderson started in goal, then perhaps Sheffield United wouldn’t have conceded three second-half goals and drawn 3-3 against the Red Devils.

Henderson is seven years young than De Gea and is the future goalkeeper for Manchester United. At least, he would have been had De Gea not been re-signed. He certainly will move on from Old Trafford after this season with Bayern Munich being a rumoured destination. The Germans are eyeing Henderson as Manuel Neuer’s possible replacement.

A big transfer awaits

Manchester United could cash-in on Henderson and sell him for a large fee in the summer. He is currently only listed at £6.3 million via Transfermarkt, which is a very conservative fee for this day and age.

De Gea, on the other hand, is priced at £58.8m courtesy of Transfermarkt. The prices are in stark contrast to each other as Henderson is on the rise and De Gea — though still a top goalkeeper on his day — has probably seen his best seasons. It is more likely that teams would be far more interested in signing Henderson over De Gea at this point. Although football clubs are fickle in their personnel decisions at times.

De Gea has kept just two clean sheets in 13 matches posting four wins and four losses. For a club that spent heavily on centre-back Harry Maguire and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the summer, those are appalling statistics.

Henderson, playing for a newly promoted team that many expected to go straight back to the EFL Championship, has kept five clean sheets while posting four wins and three losses. In contrast to Manchester United, the same transfer outlay was not splurged at Bramall Lane.

Manchester United had got into a situation in which they weren’t sure about Henderson’s development. It is fair to say in September that Henderson had only shown brief signs of being a top Premier League No. 1. Now in mid-November, he is certainly capable of being the No. 1 at Old Trafford. But what do the Red Devils do with De Gea?

His wages mean he cannot just sit on the bench and other teams are unlikely to pay a large transfer fee to sign him. Sure, De Gea would have been snapped up for free but no club in their right mind will pay £60m for a 29-year-old goalkeeper, right?

Manchester United may have got themselves into a situation in which they must sell Henderson in the summer and play De Gea although he isn’t the man that should be in goal. This deal looks once again like Manchester United need a sporting director in place at Old Trafford.