So despite seemingly destined to leave Manchester United, David de Gea now stays. Paperwork - the bane of all businesses and organisations on the planet - apparently the reason why. But as Louis van Gaal's thoughts now turn to reintegrating the Spaniard, will it benefit his side in the long run?
The now scuppered deal was meant to include Keylor Navas going the other way. Despite the majority of Real Madrid supporters admitting to being content with the Costa Rican goalkeeper, few United fans felt the same way. It smacked of desperation and, having been linked with Gareth Bale, one-sidedness.
But now United have got themselves more time. More time to get a goalkeeper of a sufficient calibre to strut into Old Trafford and grab the number one shirt rather than having it thrust upon them. Hugo Lloris, in other words.
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Though it has made the situation increasingly more messy, the Red Devils' stance over De Gea has been admirable and has served to show the Spaniard just how highly they value him and just how reluctant they were to let him go.
Madrid's interest in the former Atletico Madrid man has been well-publicised, but Los Blancos left it too late in order to get their man despite knowing, for some time, where the player's heart and head truly lies.
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£29 million is an extravagant fee for a player with just one year remaining on his contract, but given Madrid's riches is positively a bargain. If his contract was not in his final year then his price tag would be nearly double that. It would be closer to what Bayern Munich undoubtedly value Manuel Neuer at.
United have lost momentum in the Premier League recently yet remain ahead of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. That despite the inclusions of Sergio Romero, whose inconsistencies go to show just how vital De Gea has been to them since replacing Edwin van der Sar four years ago.
Navas is a splendid goalkeeper - one David James labelled the "best in the world" early last season - but United missing out on him may actually suit both themselves and Madrid in the long run.
It now gives Van Gaal time to examine his options and possibly to monitor the situation with Lloris at Tottenham. The Frenchman surely harbours hopes of Champions League football, something Mauricio Pochettino's side are unlikely to offer anytime soon.
Daniel Levy is a shrewd negotiator and has seemingly held a grudge with the club after the controversial signing of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, but could be convinced into a sale if the Red Devils throw big money onto the table?
Bernd Leno may also be more approachable after another season with Bayer Leverkusen - meaning De Gea staying could be enough to land them silverware and a sufficient replacement at the same time.
If De Gea can mend his strained relationship with Van Gaal it could prove to be one of the best pieces of business done this window.
One of the reasons United look so turgid at times is down to the absence of the Spaniard, whose distribution would often spark them out of defensive mode and onto the front foot. He also provides the stability that the club's other goalkeepers do not.
Romero meanwhile looks nervy each time with the ball at his feet and, now the summer's longest saga is at an end, the Argentinean may replace his teammate in the stands for the visit of Liverpool in just under two weeks' time.
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