Manchester United appear resigned to losing goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid, but they are seemingly determined to ensure they receive more than just a hefty transfer fee for the Spain international goalkeeper. It has long seemed likely that De Gea would return to the Spanish capital, from where he moved to Old Trafford in 2011 after emerging through the ranks at Atlético Madrid. The 24-year-old has allowed his contract to run down toward its final year, while his family and girlfriend are based in Madrid.
While De Gea still hasn’t stated his intentions outright, The Telegraph has reported that Real Madrid will make their move official after Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Belarus on Sunday. While Manchester United would not have to sell, and there is yet no suggestion that De Gea will attempt to actively force through a transfer, the club would face the prospect of losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
And it would appear that United are intent on maximizing their return from De Gea’s exit. The Telegraph claims that the Old Trafford club are planning to request striker Karim Benzema move in the other direction if they are to lose their player of the year for the last two seasons. United have been linked with the France striker regularly dating back to before his transfer to Real Madrid in 2009, and recent reports claimed that his agent, who later denied the story, had met with Manchester United officials over a potential move.
There have also been suggestions that Manchester United could look to Real Madrid to secure a direct replacement for De Gea. Spanish sports daily AS reports that United have expressed an interest in Keylor Navas, who acted as backup to Iker Casillas over the past season. The story comes on the back of reports earlier in the year that United failed with a bid for Navas before he left Levante for the Bernabeu last summer. The 28-year-old had excelled in goal for Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup but made just 10 starts in all competitions for Real Madrid over the campaign. United have also been strongly linked with Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris to replace De Gea.
The Real Madrid links with Manchester United do not end there, with rumors of Gareth Bale making a move to Old Trafford refusing to go away. The London Evening Standard is among the publications to offer the opinion in recent days that a big-money transfer involving the Welshman remains a possibility this summer.
It is less than two years since United lost a battle with Real Madrid to sign the then-Tottenham winger, with the Spanish giants paying a record transfer fee to secure his services. But this past season has been a testing one for the 25-year-old, having been booed by fans at the Bernabeu and criticized in the local media. Still, all indications from both sides have been that Bale intends to stick it out at Madrid and that the club are not yet prepared to give up on their massive investment.
The future of Manchester United striker Robin van Persie appears less certain. After firing the club to the title upon his arrival from Arsenal three years ago, the 31-year-old has endured a disappointing past two seasons, struggling with both fitness and form. With now just a year remaining on his contract and United expect to spend big this summer, including strengthening their forward options, the Netherlands international has conceded that he is unsure of his plans for next season.
“I know that the more games I play, the more it will help me prepare for the European Championship next summer,” he said, reports the Daily Mirror. “I will take everything into consideration when I decide on my future and I know I have to be realistic about the situation.”