With no new contract signed just yet, are Manchester United preparing themselves to sell their star goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid in the immediate future?
De Gea has been arguably Manchester United's player of the year so far so to lose him would be a great blow for a team who are looking to rebuild under new manager Louis Van Gaal and are showing encouraging signs of improvements this season.
The Spaniard has developed well since signing for the club from Atletico Madrid in 2011. At first Sir Alex Ferguson's signing was questioned after a number of high-profile mistakes cost United points and games early in his Old Trafford career. He was physically not up to the demands of the Premier League but he has now developed into one of the very best keepers in the World and one that United will not want to lose easily.
United know that finding another world-class keeper will be very difficult and probably very expensive. Since Peter Schmeichel retired United have struggled to find a suitable long-term replacement, with only Edwin van der Sar fitting the bill.
At the age of just 24 De Gea has the world at his feet and many years ahead of him. Goalkeepers tend to have longer careers, and are considered at their peak in their early thirties, so United will know that they have a prize asset on their hands and will be desperate to hold onto him.
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However, has this week's signing of former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes been made to cover the possible move of De Gea to Real Madrid? Valdes, a three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, has vast experience and will want first-team football at Old Trafford. Has he been guaranteed this with United accepting De Gea's eventual departure?
Will United cash in now on a player who only has 18 months left on his current deal and could conceivably go for less money as he nears the end of his current contract?
Any player is for sale if the right offer comes along so United are not immune to selling players. Real Madrid have the funds, and have proven in the past that if they want their man they will go to extreme lengths to get him.
De Gea has been tipped as Iker Casillas' replacement for Spain but he could also oust him as Real's number one if this move takes place.
It is credit to United and De Gea that he has developed admirers such as the Spanish giants, but I am sure Old Trafford's hierarchy will not want to let him go easily and will hope to negotiate a new long term deal with their star keeper.
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