Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is “pretty confident” that David de Gea will commit his future to Manchester United and is not currently looking at alternatives to replace him, despite protracted talks over a new contract.
De Gea’s current Old Trafford deal is set to expire at the end of the season despite negotiations between United and his representatives beginning more than 18 months ago.
The four-time United player-of-the-year winner will be able to leave on a free transfer next summer if no new terms are agreed, with Juventus prepared to take advantage of any breakdown in talks.
De Gea’s form has suffered as a result of the uncertainty over his future. Once a dependable goalkeeper, he made several high-profile errors towards the end of last season and was criticised for his role in Crystal Palace’s late winner at Old Trafford last month.
“Whenever he concedes a goal, it's headlines that he should have saved [it],” Solskjaer said on Friday, before Leicester City’s visit. “That's just the way it is at Man United and you have to handle it. You have to be resilient, you've got to have robust confidence, and he's fine. I don't worry about him at all.
On De Gea’s contract situation, the United manager added: “I've obviously not been involved in all the discussions, but I'm very – or pretty – confident we'll get this sorted. David's never, ever said anything else to me, other that he loves this club, he wants to stay here and he's had a fantastic time, so let's hope we just get it over the line.”
If Solskjaer's confidence is misplaced and United do lose De Gea for nothing, they will need a replacement of the same calibre. Sergio Romero is currently United's reserve 'keeper ahead of third-choice Lee Grant, while the promising England Under-21 international Dean Henderson is spending a second year on loan at Sheffield United.
Jan Oblak and Jordan Pickford have both previously been linked as potential successors to De Gea, but Solskjaer suggested on Friday that United’s efforts were concentrated on convincing their current No 1 to stay rather than searching for alternatives.
“We are always aware of what’s happening around in the world,” he said. “But my focus and the club’s focus is to convince him to stay. He can see what we’re doing, and knows what we’re doing. We want players here, the best ones, and the ones we want most of the time stay. There are not many who we want to keep that we don’t manage to keep.”
“I have two very good backup keepers with Sergio and Lee. Dean is playing at Sheffield United. So the goalkeeping department is in good health. And I said I am confident we will manage to convince David that here is the future for him. And it is a successful future, a club that wants to get back to winning trophies.”