David de Gea's dream return to his home city is officially off. Paperwork for the deal was submitted to La Liga officials after the dead-line had passed.
Manchester United insist that they are not accountable for the blunder. Madrid have recently released a statement implying the opposite.
And so the story that has dominated the headlines all summer has finally drawn to a comical close. The proxy war between Manchester United and 'Los Blancos' is over, for the time being. The farcical outcome has left both clubs being portrayed as the losers.
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The Red Devils are stuck with a player who clearly wanted out, due in part to their stubborn refusal to submit to the will of president Florentino Perez.
They have almost certainly kissed good-bye to their near-record fee for a player with a year left on his contract.
United are now left in a situation where the player can leave for nothing at the end of the current season. While Real are lumbered with a keeper, Keylor Navas, who knows that he is viewed as a stop-gap in the eyes of his current employers.
The Spanish press and Madrid fans have been highly critical of the club's handling of the De Gea situation. He was Real´s primary target this summer. He is the Spanish number one in-waiting, with the added bonus of having once belonged to hated city-rivals Athletico Madrid.
Fans and press alike are wondering how the richest club in the world managed to get it so badly wrong. However it may well prove to be a case of opportunity knocks for the Old Trafford side.
For a year at least, their ranks will be boosted by having one of the top goalkeepers in football.
Having witnessed Sergio Romero's performances over the past month, United fans would surely welcome De Gea's likely return between the posts.
Should he return to the side and reproduce the eye-catching performances of the past two seasons, fans might be more open to forgiving their errant star.
Putting the financial implications of the collapsed transfer to one side, it is worth remembering that neither the Red Devils, or their supporters wanted De Gea to leave in the first-place. His staying could be worth an extra ten points this season.
If United have ambitions of making it far in the Champions League, then hanging onto De Gea could make all the difference. A strong showing would see the club's revenue increase to an extent that it off-sets the potential fee they have lost out on.
If De Gea can find focus and win back the fans and his manager, anything is possible. As with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008, he may yet be persuaded to sign a bumper new deal with United and still join Real, at a later date. Or even,end up staying at Manchester United.