The Spaniard has enjoyed a superb start to the 2017/18 campaign, claiming eight clean sheets from the ten games he has played so far.
And while attention has largely revolved around Manchester United’s attacking splendour in recent weeks, De Gea has made crucial stops in games against Stoke City, Everton and CSKA Moscow.
Speaking earlier this week, Darmian, when asked who the best keeper in the world was, noted that De Gea was currently sitting above the rest whilst adding that Buffon was the greatest all time.
“I know David very well and I think, at this moment, he is the best goalkeeper in the world,” he said. “He is very important for us and I think that save at Stoke [from Jese Rodrigues) was incredible.
“I think Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time. He’s also a good guy. So I am lucky to play with two goalkeepers like this. Of course, it’s close [between the two]. I don’t know. I think David is the best goalkeeper in the world and Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time.
“I think they are similar because they are very strong and they make very good saves. They also have good personalities.”
First of all, the fact that so many are placing De Gea at the top of the goalkeeping ladder of excellence serves as a testament in itself to just how far the Spaniard has come over the last few years. But is he really the best in the world?
Naturally, we cannot answer this question with complete certainty. What, for example, is the best ice cream in the world? How can we really know? You may want to contest this but I find that any ‘best in the world’ question is too wide-reaching – nay, too incomprehensible – to ever be meaningful.
One thing, however, is clear for all to see: with the possible exception of AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma – purely because of his age – De Gea is the most valuable goalkeeper in the world.
Value doesn’t perfectly translate to concurrent quality, of course, and yet the fact of the matter is that any big club looking to sign an elite goalkeeper would turn to United first.
Special mentions should go to Jan Oblak, Samir Handanovic and Marc-Andre term Stegen, alongside Buffon and Manuel Neuer – two titans of the last decade – but De Gea is the hottest property on the market right now.