David de Gea is being targeted by a new suitor in the Saudi Pro League as he looks for his next club after Manchester United, according to reports.
De Gea became a free agent in the summer after a lengthy service to Man Utd, in which he made 545 appearances and won eight trophies. Although his form had declined in recent years, it is somewhat surprising that a player of his pedigree is still without a club.
For various reasons, De Gea has not been able to secure a new deal elsewhere yet. However, the latest suitor trying to bring him back into the game could be Al-Ettifaq.
According to The Sun, Steven Gerrard’s Saudi Pro League side have become the favourites to lure De Gea to the Middle East.
It is a surprising twist, since the same source revealed only last week that De Gea is not keen on a move to Saudi Arabia for family reasons.
If Al-Ettifaq can meet De Gea’s wages, though, there is an implication that he could join the same club as Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Demarai Gray.
Al-Ettifaq’s main goalkeeper so far this season has been the Brazilian, Paulo Victor, but he is 36 years old and out of contract at the end of next season.
In other words, the current incumbent is not a long-term solution for Gerrard, and while De Gea is arguably past his prime too at 33, he is a much more high-pedigree name.
That said, Saudi clubs must be mindful of how many foreign players they have in their squads, since there are limits despite the heavy investing the Pro League has done over recent months.
The report also hints that the next batch of big deals by Saudi clubs may be more likely to happen in the summer, rather than January.
Technically, since De Gea is a free agent, he could be signed at any time, but his high wage demands will have to be taken into account by anyone hoping to sign him.
Gerrard once said he hated De Gea
Liverpool legend Gerrard has begrudgingly admired De Gea for a while, telling BT Sport back in 2018: “Well I think the biggest compliment I can pay him is I hate him. So do all Liverpool fans.
“He makes difficult shots look really easy, which is what world-class keepers do. I don’t really go off the stats or the graphs, I go off my eyes. You can look at them and change them and twist them whatever way you want.
“He probably is the best keeper in the world at this present time.”
Although De Gea did win the Premier League Golden Glove award last season, things have changed for him in the five years since those comments were made.
He will not want his career to end on a whimper, though, so will be hoping to find a new club before too long.