If Real Madrid are to be banned from registering new players in the next two transfer windows, there is every possibility that they will, at least, attempt to sign David de Gea from Manchester United.
While they fell so spectacularly just before the finish line last summer, they have reportedly retained their interest in signing the Spanish goalkeeper. As De Gea seemed so intent on leaving Old Trafford six months ago, it is safe to assume that he is still open to the move.
But, despite all that, a January deal still looks less than likely. De Gea signed a new four-year contract with the Red Devils, leaving them under little or no pressure to sell. To add to that, the 25-year-old would be cup-tied from the Champions League for the rest of the campaign if he was to move to the Bernabeu.
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Long story short, we don't think Manchester United fans should be too concerned. But, according to the Daily Mail, concerned is exactly how the bigwigs at Old Trafford are feeling. They have put together a potential list of replacements should they lose De Gea in the near future.
Their top choice is none other than Stoke City's rising star Jack Butland. The 22-year-old, barring Petr Cech, has been the outstanding goalkeeper in the Premier League this season and has been tipped to win the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
And his performances have forced Manchester United to take notice. They've placed him high up on their shortlist and would most likely make a move at the first sign of De Gea leaving.
It must be insisted, of course, that Butland has been scouted purely as a precaution. They do not want to be caught cold as they were last summer when they tried desperately to get Keylor Navas included in the De Gea deal that ultimately collapsed. They were also forced to play the unproven Sergio Romero in every one of their August games.
Again, Real Madrid face a huge battle if they are to tempt De Gea away from Old Trafford in the next ten days, but should the worst happen for United, they are prepared to react.