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David De Gea’s future still up in the air amid team-mates fearing his exit

David De Gea’s future at Manchester United is something that many of the clubs supporters have been worrying about for months. The longer time passes without a contract renewal being close, effectively means that either United sell the player in the summer, or they allow the Spaniard to run his contract down with his free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club as early as January 2016, with him leaving the Old Trafford club at the end of the 2015/16 season as a free agent, which would really be a bitter pill to swallow. United need to do all they can to ensure a new contract is agreed with the player, which could still happen, but reports in newspapers are starting to suggest otherwise.

At the weekend, there were reports in Spain suggesting that De Gea had already agreed a move to Real Madrid, but personally, I see those reports as propaganda, just like the reports in the summer of 2013 regarding the transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid were doing effectively the same thing. This seems to be Real Madrid’s style in order to get their man, which has been the case for as long as I can remember. De Gea has the chance to be part of something great at United. The failure of last season under David Moyes seems to have been turned around by Louis van Gaal, with United sitting inside the top four for most of the season, currently in a strong position to earn a UEFA Champions League place next season.

De Gea was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2011 from Atlético Madrid for nearly £18 million, so to see the player walk away for nothing, would show a massive failure by the Old Trafford club to keep this talented goalkeeper at the Theatre of Dreams. The future of Iker Casillas at Real Madrid has been something that controls rumours, with manager Carlo Ancelotti recently suggesting the Spanish veteran goalkeeper has a future at the club, which suggests the Italian manager is not all that keen on signing De Gea, but that does not mean president Florentino Perez is not keen.

The Mirror reported on Tuesday that ‘Manchester United stars fear team-mate David De Gea is on his way to Real Madrid this summer’. Whilst no player names, or quotes from the supposed players were reported, the article looked like something just to keep the rumours alive of a move to the Spanish capital. De Gea has been one of, if not the Player of the Season, an award he was nominated for, and won at the club last season. He could win the award again this season, being that key has kept United in many games, especially earlier in the season where the difference between winning and losing was a verify line. Losing a player like this could be catastrophic for the club, and they have experience of such after seeing Peter Schmeichel leave the club at the end of the treble-winning season, than seeing Edwin van der Sar retire from football at the end of the 2010/11 season.

United do have Víctor Valdés, who signed for the club in January on a free transfer, who could steer the ship next season, but with the Spaniard not yet making his first team debut, we are yet to see how well the player has recovered from a serious knee injury, which ended his Barcelona career just over a year ago. There is no doubt that Valdés is not still a world-class goalkeeper, but it would not cushion the blow of losing one of the best goalkeepers in the world, a player that could easily be at the top of his game in a season or two. To see the player reach that height of is career at a club like Real Madrid, especially after the United supporters stuck by him during that first season, which was pretty amateurish, at best.

Guillem Balague, the Spanish football expert and columnist for Sky Sports was asked what he made of the apparent agreement with David De Gea and Real Madrid, with reports coming out of Spain at the weekend. The Spaniard, reported by Sky Sports in his column, said:

“There is a lot of pressure, which comes from Madrid, for Casillas to leave, so we are hearing ‘interested’ leaks. I’m not saying De Gea will not come to Madrid, what I am saying is that I don’t think an agreement has been reached because De Gea wants to see what Casillas is doing.

“Casillas says he wants to stay until 2017 which means De Gea would then have to make a decision. Does he want to be fighting for the place with Casillas or does he want to wait one more year until the end of his contract. Nothing has been decided yet.”

With Guillem Balague’s expert eye, it suggests that Real Madrid would need to get rid of Iker Casillas before the club move for a new goalkeeper. With the Spaniards current contract not ending until the summer of 2017, and the players reluctance to leave the club, there would be a financial penalty for the club to push the player out. Balague does not think an agreement is in place between De Gea and Real Madrid, and that may not change until it is clear what is happening with Casillas, which is logical. Real Madrid signed Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas last summer on a six-year deal, and although he will not be happy playing second fiddle to Casillas, will he be happy to see a new player come in during the summer and step straight past him in the pecking order. I guess that is the sort of thing that happens at the Madrid club anyway, you are always likely to be replaced at some point with a bigger name.

With Casillas wanting to stay at the club until the expiry of his contract, that would leave De Gea playing second fiddle to him, which would also see his chances of becoming Spain’s number one be hit with the possibility of that not happening until he has broken through as the number one goalkeeper for his club. That is what my logic dictates anyway, but it may not be the case. Thing is, Manchester United will not be able to stop a player from leaving for Real Madrid. Contracts do not really mean much in modern football and providing a club is willing to pay a high fee for a contracted player, there is always a chance a player will change clubs as often as the money is willing to be paid. With United reportedly valuing De Gea close to £50 million, if an agreement has not been made by the time the transfer window opens on the 1st July, the club may have to think about selling the player, with them trying to get the most they can for the player.

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