As the official transfer window bursts open July 1, much of Manchester United’s business this summer will revolve around highly touted goalkeeper David De Gea. The 24-year-old Spaniard’s 93-save Premier League season played a huge role in the Red Devils' fourth-place finish, but it also sparked a feeding frenzy for the superstar's services.
The most likely destination for De Gea appears to be Real Madrid. De Gea has one year left on his current contract, and United manager Louis van Gaal refused to comment on the player’s much-speculated switch to Madrid. In fact, AS reports Van Gaal was acutely angry with a question regarding De Gea’s status at Old Trafford.
“I don’t have a problem,” Van Gaal said during an interview with Spanish television station Cuatro. “I don’t want to discuss the issue through the media. I will speak with my directors, not with the media. I don’t have a problem.”
However, AS also stated that United are seeking almost £33 million for De Gea, which would rival the fee Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon. While Van Gaal may regret losing one of the best goalkeepers in the world, such a huge return on a £17.8-million investment might be too tempting to pass up.
One way to support whoever potentially fills in for De Gea next term is bolstering the back line, which could come in the form of Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. Manchester Evening News reported that while some reports stress United have already made a second bid of £35.5 million, Old Trafford officials have yet to extend a second offer after their initial bid of £28.37 million was rejected.
Ramos, 29, and Madrid are engaged in a contract dispute and the two sides might have reached an impasse, Daily Mirror reports, though United now face a difficult battle against rivals Manchester City. After failing to win a second-straight domestic title, City officials and ownership have pledged to spend massive amounts this summer, which may drive up the price on a number of United’s targets.
Another route United can take is a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Times reported the 30-year-old seeks first-team pitch time in order to fulfill his duties as Germany’s new team captain, and while he doesn’t necessarily want to leave Munich, he started only 15 Bundesliga matches last term. Schweinsteiger will be entering the final year of his contract, and is capable of being productive at multiple midfield positions.
Though he’s played central and attacking midfield roles during his illustrious career, Schweinsteiger could be most effective in the defensive backfield especially as United return to Champions League next season. He feels that his age isn't necessarily a hindrance.
"You gain experience year by year. You learn to judge situations and act on them," Schweinsteiger said, according to ESPN.com.
As for De Gea’s potential replacement, Daily Mirror reports United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has set his sights on Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen. The 26-year-old totaled 119 saves over 32 Eredivisie matches last season, and United are prepared to offer £20 million to the Dutch club, well above his estimated value of £5.7 million. However, United still have Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard under contract in 2015-2016.