David de Gea has been unemployed for ten months, but his career as a goalkeeper is still not over. Source: David de Gea official Instagram | Instagram @d_degeaofficial
David de Gea has been unemployed for ten months, but his career as a goalkeeper is still not over. Source: David de Gea official Instagram | Instagram @d_degeaofficial

What has become of David de Gea?

Football OlyBet 18.05.2024

A year ago, David de Gea was standing firmly between the posts for Manchester United, helping them win the English League Cup and earning the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the end of the season. But then the Spaniard left the club with some drama to go with it and has not tied himself to anyone else to this day. What is the goalie up to or can he still be called a goalkeeper at all?

As surprising as it is, shortly after leaving United, de Gea stayed put in Manchester. Partly, it was logical because this industrial city of England had been his home for the last dozen years, but there were other factors behind this as well.

Namely, he made this decision based on purely economic considerations. The laws of Spain stipulate that when you live and work abroad, the proportion of taxes you pay to the country is considerably lower than when you reside in your home country.

Given that de Gea’s weekly salary at United was £375,000, which is €1.7 million per month, it is understandable why the goalkeeper was not in a rush to get back to Spain. He flew home only on December 20, when the 2023 tax period was ending and his salary was certain.

Enjoys the time off

But what was de Gea up to in England in the meantime? Whatever he fancied. He played padel, went out with friends, founded, and coached his esports team Rebels Gaming and even went to watch Manchester United games. True, the women’s teams.

As the goalkeeper also kept himself in shape by training on his own three or four times a week, he received a bunch of offers while in England, but as none of them were close to what he had earned at United, de Gea ignored them.

Relatives of the Spaniard, who requested anonymity, even revealed that when no decent offers were received in the first summer month – the fact that the goalkeeper did not have an agent also played a role in this – de Gea seriously considered calling it quits with football.

However, in the end, he didn’t and after he had calmed down, he decided to enjoy life – in the summer de Gea married his long-time partner Edurne, together they are raising a daughter Yanay – and wait for offers.

Wife vetoed Saudi Arabia

The offers began to come by more or less regularly. Among them were also those from Saudi Arabian clubs, which of course were tempting in terms of the salary, but his wife Edurne put her foot down. She had gotten used to having his husband at home and stated firmly that she did not intend to start flying between the Middle East and home.

Edurne, who is a judge on the Spanish star show, would have been more okay with the USA, but the offer that would catch the eye did not come from there either. In addition, de Gea’s ego played a role: how could he take so many steps back in his prime as a goalkeeper – he is 33, after all. It was clear that the offer had to come from one of Europe’s top leagues.

On January 8 this year, the goalkeeper wrote on Instagram, “New year, new challenges,” which excited fans. However, these challenges were not related to football but to his esports team, Rebels Gaming, which decided to expand into League of Legends and Counter-Strike. And that is a huge deal in the virtual world!

At the end of January, a week before the transfer window closed, it appeared in England that Nottingham Forest, flirting with relegation, would like to bring De Gea to their aid. They tried to attract the Spaniard with a short-term, half-year contract, which should be ideal, as this way the top clubs will notice de Gea again and he would have a chance to show his worth. But even that wasn’t enough for the goalkeeper to say yes.

De Gea’s attention was then attracted by Al-Shabab, who was waving money at him. Despite the big bucks the Spaniard quickly realised that 11th-placed Saudi Arabia was not quite a team whose shirt he wanted to wear. Not to mention his wife’s firm opposition to the idea of the Middle East.

Rumours in Spain and training in England’s fifth league

In February, rumours began to surface that de Gea was settling with his family in Spain and wanted to continue his career there. Based on anonymous sources, there was even talk of “joining one of La Liga’s top teams”, thus referring to FC Barcelona, but these remained just rumours. Talks of a move to Real Betis started circulating last month, but again… just hearsay.

Then the transfer market calmed down a bit and de Gea decided to do the same, going on vacation with his family to the Bahamas. A storm erupted again in social media at the end of April, when the goalkeeper was spotted training at the home stadium of Altrincham FC, the fifth-strongest league club in England.

But that simply came down to the fact that Moss Lane – that’s the stadium’s name – is a stone’s throw from Hale, a suburb of Manchester where many former and current United players live.

Thus, ten months after leaving United, de Gea is still unemployed, although thanks to the wealth accumulated during his career, he doesn’t have to worry about money.

All sources close to the Spaniard, who have been able to speak anonymously to foreign media, have confirmed that the goalkeeper still wants to return to the pitch, but that the task becomes more difficult with each passing day he spends away from the top flight.

Because, although it is possible to keep fit on your own, it is not realistic to imitate real football by playing by yourself or even with friends.

Why did de Gea leave United in the first place?

In the simplest terms, the Spanish goalkeeper did not fit into the tactical plans of new head coach Erik Ten Hag, which involved building up the game with short passes from the back.

When the Dutchman came to Manchester, he was hopeful that de Gea would make it. “I am confident that he can do it. He has already shown it, I’ve seen it in training sessions and some games as well,” he said at the beginning of the 22/23 season.

However, de Gea did not feel that comfortable and his confidence began to waver. And when United had started the season with defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Ten Haag compromised by allowing the goalkeeper to play the long ball if he wished.

The whole season went by like this, but during these ten months, it also became clear to Ten Haag that de Gea could not be retrained. Thus, the club decided not to extend the Spaniard’s hefty, £375,000-a-week contract, but since he was still a decent goalkeeper, new negotiations were initiated with him.

However, those dragged on endlessly until it was clear that the parties would not reach an agreement. That’s how de Gea became a free agent on June 30, 2023, which he is to this day.


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