Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague believes David de Gea could still join Real Madrid even if he signs a contract extension with Manchester United.
De Gea has less than 18 months to run on his current Manchester United deal and appears no closer to signing a renewal, despite recent reports claiming an announcement is imminent.
Balague insists that negotiations between De Gea and the Red Devils are underway - but has warned United fans that the world-class goalkeeper could leave Old Trafford even if he agrees to sign the new deal.
De Gea could sign deal and then leave - Balague
“He is negotiating a new deal with Manchester United and that seems to be the priority now,” Balague was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “So I think he will sign a new contract and become the best-paid goalkeeper in the world, ahead of [Madrid’s Iker] Casillas perhaps.
“But that does not mean he will stay at Manchester United though, because it is quite clear that both Valdes and De Gea’s finish their contracts at the same time in a year and a half.
“And it is very clear that Real Madrid want De Gea. Now the problem is that Real Madrid will have to convince Manchester United to sell, and that is the second part of the story.”
De Gea could reject offer
If De Gea is intent on securing a move to the Bernabeu, the Spaniard might choose not to sign a contract extension with Manchester United.
The Red Devils would then find themselves needing to cash in on the goalkeeper this summer, or risk losing him for nothing 12 months later.
Manchester United secured the services of a potential replacement for De Gea last month. Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes could end up replacing his compatriot this summer after joining the Red Devils as a free agent.
However, Valdes is no longer considered one of the world’s elite goalkeepers, while De Gea is now widely regarded as one of the top three on the planet alongside Manuel Neuer and Thibaut Courtois.
Can United match his ambition?
Whether De Gea stays at Manchester United could depend on where the club finish in the Premier League table this season.
A top-four finish would mean a return to the Champions League, which may be enough to convince De Gea that Manchester United can match his ambition.
Failure to bounce back to Europe’s premier club competition following a one-season absence, however, could cost Manchester United more than just hard cash - it could also cost them a world-class goalkeeper who they have helped develop over the past four years.
Will De Gea stay at Manchester United? Have your say in the comments below.