We will never know what was in David de Gea’s mind before this game. Did he want the Europa League final to be a glorious farewell?
If he does end up departing, the Europa League final will end as a sorry note for the former four-time Manchester United player of the year to bow out on.
De Gea had a competent 120 minutes but his flaws of not being able to save penalties turned out to be quite important when the game was being decided on a penalty shootout.
The Spaniard conceded 11 consecutive spot-kicks, and then it was his turn to have a go himself. It ended depressingly poorly, and United lost.
This was a crushing blow to United, and it will surely go down as the worst moment of De Gea’s career.
If he was planning to depart, then it was not how he wanted to bow out.
United have to make a big decision this summer between De Gea and Dean Henderson.
Henderson is younger, is on cheaper wages, and actually displaced De Gea for a long stretch of Premier League games.
That led to De Gea swapping roles with Henderson for the cup goalkeeper spot, fatefully so.
Henderson is a confident character, and De Gea will be haunted by the manner of this final defeat. He is not the goalkeeper he once was, and perhaps he simply needs a new challenge.
Starting De Gea made some sense, out of loyalty, and he appeared to be in good form after the semi-finals.
What comes next is very unclear, and a kneejerk decision is not expected in the next few days either. United will regroup, and possibly consider offers for both goalkeepers before deciding which one to stick with.
Fans fear it is the end
The De Gea and Henderson debate is a divisive one, with some worrying the youngster is not quite ready.
This Europa League final defeat may end up pushing De Gea closer to the exit. It’s not how he wanted to leave, but it may be a sign that it is time to move on.
Some supporters took to twitter to express their views that this could be the final time we see De Gea in a United shirt…
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