Manchester United fear that David de Gea is stalling on signing a new contract at Old Trafford because of interest from Real Madrid.
The Spanish international has been one of Manchester United's most consistent performers this season, but is facing a spell on the sidelines after dislocating a finger while training with his country during the international break.
De Gea has just two years remaining on his contract at Old Trafford having joined Manchester United in a deal worth £18 million from Atletico Madrid in 2011. There's been plenty of speculation that Real Madrid could be lining up a swoop for him in the new year, something that the Red Devils will fight hard against.
The 24-year-old is fighting to replace Iker Casillas at international level, and he could also replace his compatriot at club level too. Now according to the Daily Mirror, Manchester United chiefs are fearful that interest from Spain is behind De Gea's reluctance to discuss a new deal at Old Trafford. There's no indication as yet that he is seeking an exit from the club, but could be biding his time while weighing up his options.
It seems as though Manchester United may already have his replacement lined up, with Victor Valdes, 32, closing in on a deal at Old Trafford. The former Barcelona man has been training with Louis van Gaal's team as he bids to get back to full fitness following a serious knee injury that forced him to miss the World Cup.
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The Mirror claim that Valdes will be handed an 18-month deal and won't be joining Manchester United as a number two, which casts some serious doubt over De Gea's future.
Manchester United fans are unlikely to be happy with that trade off given the respective ages of the two 'keepers. Van Gaal is likely to get a glimpse of life without De Gea in the coming weeks as the talented shotstopper will reportedly be out of action for up to four weeks with his finger injury.