Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has conceded he can't persuade David de Gea to stay at Old Trafford, but urged the goalkeeper to make up his mind about his future as quickly as possible.
The Spanish stopper has been heavily linked with a move away from the Red Devils this summer, with Real Madrid poised to offer the 24-year-old the chance to return to his homeland.
De Gea received a standing ovation from home supporters when he was withdrawn early after suffering an injury in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal in what could turn out to be his last appearance at the Theatre of Dreams.
The £18 million signing from Atletico Madrid has just over 12 months remaining on his existing contract with Manchester United and appears to be stalling over signing the renewal that has been offered to him.
But, despite the fact his current deal is winding down, Van Gaal insists De Gea will not be allowed to leave on the cheap, meaning Real Madrid will still have to pay a significant fee if they are serious about luring the player to the Santiago Bernabeu.
“With every individual transfer it is a process, and it is a process for David De Gea,” the veteran Dutch coach was quoted saying by the Daily Mirror. “He shall not leave us so easily, because we have a great club.
"But, of course, he is Spanish, his girlfriend is Spanish, he can go to another great club and that is for him to decide. He has to decide, because we have given a fantastic contract because we want him to stay.
"He is a Spanish international, still behind Iker Casillas, now a Spanish club is coming [in for him], his girlfriend is Spanish, his father and mother come every week or every two weeks here, so it’s difficult.”
Asked directly whether he has spoken to De Gea about his thinking and whether or not he sees his future with the Premier League giants, Van Gaal played down his role when it comes to negotiations after suggesting there is no need for him to sell the project to the custodian.
“I don’t think I can persuade him because he knows everything he has at this moment here at Manchester United,” he explained. “So I don’t have to say something in benefit of Manchester United, because he can feel it every day.
"You have seen the fans, they are unbelievable. When he is going, he is losing that. Here he has a lot of credit. He has to decide."
There was certainly a feeling that this was De Gea's goodbye game that was somewhat spoilt by a late goal from the Gunners, after Theo Walcott's deflected strike diverted past Victor Valdes just minutes after he'd replaced the No.1 between the sticks for Manchester United.
However, the point ensures that the Red Devils have qualified for the Champions League next season via a top four finish in the Premier League - which was the initial target outlined by Van Gaal when he first arrived at the club last summer.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Louis van Gaal should be doing more to try and convince David de Gea to stay at Old Trafford? Have your say below...