MANCHESTER UNITED are reluctant to make David De Gea their highest-paid player due to concerns over his recent form, according to reports.
The goalkeeper, 28, is out of contract next summer and United understandably want to resolve his situation before the new season gets underway.
But with suggestions he wants to become the club’s top earner, the Evening Standard believe United are refusing to give in to his demands.
Alexis Sanchez is on £505,000 per week, far more than anybody else, but it is understood the Old Trafford club are only prepared to offer the stopper £350,000 – which would still make him the best-paid goalkeeper in the world.
De Gea has undoubtedly been his club’s most-consistent performer since arriving in the Premier League in 2011.
He has been voted the Manchester United Player of the Season four times in the last five years, named in the PFA Team of the Year on five occasions and got his hands on the Premier League Golden Glove for the first time last season.
But this season, Opta stats show De Gea’s form has taken a turn for the worse.
The Spaniard has played every minute in the Premier League but he is conceding more, saving less and making more errors this season.
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His clean sheet percentage, minutes per goal conceded, save percentage and minutes per error leading to goal have all taken a hit compared to his overall averages.
Remarkably, in 267 Premier League appearances, he has made just eight errors leading to goals but two of those have been this season – including when he misjudged Granit Xhaka’s speculative effort on Sunday.
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De Gea came close to joining Real Madrid in 2015 but a deal could not be completed. Louis van Gaal left him out of the side until his future was resolved and once a new contract was signed, he came back in.
And any suggestions that De Gea is once again distracted by his off-field problems were quickly played down by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The interim boss said: “David is too professional to let his mind wander. The best players, they know how to focus.
“David is disappointed every time he concedes a goal but he’s been absolutely fantastic for us.”