David de Gea 'turned down' surprise Premier League offer in January

  • David de Gea turned down chance to return to football during January
  • Goalkeeper remains without a club since leaving Man Utd last summer
  • No interest in Saudi Arabia & ideally wants a team in Champions League

David de Gea continues to bide his time
David de Gea continues to bide his time / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

David de Gea turned down an offer to join Nottingham Forest during the January transfer window, according to reports.

The Spaniard was close to signing a new deal at Manchester United last season until negotiations were put on hold as the club focused on recruiting Andre Onana. He was then released at the end of his contract, ending a 12-year tenure at Old Trafford.

De Gea could arguably have still been starting for United every week had things worked out differently, given his reputation and standing in the game, but he extraordinarily remains unemployed in his primary trade and has been left to focus on business ventures outside football.

The Athletic report that De Gea was one of seven different goalkeepers Forest approached in the winter window, seemingly not convinced by current options Matt Turner and Odysseas Vlachodimos. The Tricky Trees are believed to have put forward the importance of De Gea playing regular football at this stage of his career - effectively enhancing his future prospects by putting himself in the 'shop window'.

Ex-United teammate Christian Eriksen did similar when he joined Brentford at the start of 2022, showcasing himself to bigger clubs after recovering from the cardiac arrest that almost took his life.

But De Gea turned down the offer and that was that. Forest, having also been rebuffed by Liverpool with a reported £15m for Caoimhin Kelleher, eventually turned to Strasbourg's Matz Sels.

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There were links with Al Shabab, not one of the Saudi Pro League's big four, but De Gea has never held a desire to move to the oil rich country – Cristiano Ronaldo was trying and failing to persuade his former colleague to make the switch back in September – and the stance has not changed.

Bayern Munich considered him when they were in need of a goalkeeper last summer but nothing came of it. There were talks with Real Madrid after Thibaut Courtois tore his ACL, only for the club De Gea was a fax machine gaffe away from joining in 2015 to go with Kepa Arrizabalaga instead.

Newcastle were also offered the player in December when Nick Pope suffered a shoulder injury. By then, the Magpies were on the brink of being knocked out of Europe and De Gea ideally wanted his next club to be in the Champions League - potentially explaining why Forest couldn’t tempt him.

Unless a team is in desperate need between now and the end of the season, De Gea probably won't now find a new club until at least the summer, which would put him at a full year out of football. There has to be an element of making the right choice for himself, but the longer he spends waiting for the perfect offer to come along, it feels the less likely it is to actually materialise.