Manchester United face a fight to bring Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea to Old Trafford as a long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar.
The 20-year-old Spaniard is being lined up as Sir Alex Ferguson’s number one target to replace the Dutch giant between the Old Trafford sticks when he hangs up his gloves at the end of the season.
Noises from Madrid had previously suggested that de Gea was flattered by interest from the Red Devils, after he turned down an earlier offer of Premier League football with Wigan Athletic.
"I was about to go to Wigan but wanted to stay at Atletico and take my opportunity another time,” explained the highly rated shot stopper.
"The Premier League would be enjoyable and is an option I would like a bit later in life."
Manchester United have sent a number of senior scouts to Spain to keep tabs on the under 21 international, and reports have come back favourably, suggesting Ferguson is likely to step up his interest before the end of the season.
However, when approached more recently about the speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford, de Gea seemed much more despondent:
"Yes, it is nice, but I am very happy here. It would be very difficult to leave Atletico.”