David De Gea will complete his protracted transfer to Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window, claims Guillem Balague.
The former Atletico Madrid youngster has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe since moving to Manchester United, who paid around £17million to take him from the Vicente Calderon in 2011. De Gea has overcome a difficult start to life in England to become a key player at Old Trafford, where he has been named Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons.
Indeed, his form hasn’t gone unnoticed in his homeland where Real have long had him identified as the eventual replacement for Iker Casillas. But whereas the latter has now left the Bernabeu for Portugal and FC Porto, De Gea remains in Manchester, although he is in the final 12 months of his contract and has been frozen out by Louis van Gaal whilst his future remains in the balance.
United have selected Sergio Romero to play in both Premier League matches and also the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge, but they are reluctant to let De Gea leave the club on the cheap. Van Gaal has indicated that the 24-year-old has refused to play for the Reds, although this is a claim which has been completely refuted by the player and his party.
Los Blancos have signed Kiko Casilla from Espanyol to compete with Keylor Navas for their number one position, but this doesn’t mean their interest in De Gea is over. And according to Sky Sports pundit Balague, regarded as an expert in all things Spanish football, the 24-year-old will complete a return to Madrid this summer although the deal will only be completed next month.
“Manchester United are saying ‘look, he (De Gea) doesn’t want to play’ so that when he goes, they can always say he’s a guy that doesn’t want to play for us,” Balague told Sky Sports’ La Liga weekly podcast. “He understands as well that Real Madrid are doing their part of the strategy by saying ‘with Kiko Casilla and Keylor Navas, we have enough’. Yeah, right…
“Jorge Mendes, the agent of De Gea, has told him not to worry and the money will come from Real Madrid, but he has to understand that Manchester United are letting go of a guy who has been their best player for two years now and somebody who would help them with a challenge for the title this year. It’s normal that everything will go to the wire, to the last few hours and days of the transfer window but I think, the way it looks, De Gea will go to Real Madrid.”
Losing De Gea would no doubt be a huge blow to United, who have told Victor Valdes he has no future at the club. It will be doubly frustrating as they were prepared to let the former Atletico star return to the Spanish capital this summer on condition of Sergio Ramos moving the other way, but despite early promise, the defender has this week signed a new contract with Real.