Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata insists he does not know if his close friend and teammate David de Gea is leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid this summer.
Speaking to former Netherlands international Ruud Gullit during a wide-ranging interview on BeIN Sports, the Spain international was reluctant to give too much away when quizzed about his compatriot’s future.
“I don’t know - you want me to tell you?” Mata responded, a little embarrassed. “I don’t know. I wish the best for him. As a teammate, I would like to have him with me.” (To see Juan Mata’s interview, scroll down to the video on this page, and skip to 8 mins 10 secs).
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De Gea is reportedly keen to complete his move to Real Madrid before Manchester United reconvene for pre-season training on July 6.
But United want £35 million for the goalkeeper, according to the Daily Mail, and Real Madrid are reluctant to spend such a large amount of money on a player unsettled at his current club with only a year left to run on his contract.
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Manchester United want Sergio Ramos
Manchester United are also exploring the possibility of signing one of Real Madrid’s players in return. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane have all been linked with the Red Devils, but it seems Sergio Ramos has emerged as Louis van Gaal’s top target, with the World Cup winner reportedly keen to leave the Bernabeu.
The longer the transfer saga rumbles on, the less time Manchester United will have to recruit a replacement for De Gea.
Victor Valdes is a decent replacement
This suggests Van Gaal will stick by the former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who made his Manchester United debut at the end of last season, rather than spending big money on Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris or a similar potential alternative.
Valdes, 33, looked sharp against Hull City last month - his first senior start for over a year, following his serious knee injury.
The Spaniard possesses a vast amount of experience and is one of the best keepers in the world with the ball at his feet.
However, replacing De Gea with Valdes would be a downgrade for Manchester United. The former is now widely regarded as one of the top three goalkeepers on the planet - alongside Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois - and that’s largely down to the excellent coaching he’s had at Old Trafford.
There’s a slim possibility that De Gea will end up staying with the Red Devils for one more season, but if that happens United will kiss goodbye to any potential transfer fee.
Manchester United fans: do you think David de Gea will still be at Old Trafford in August? Have your say in the comments below!