Manchester United fans are probably going to hate for me saying this but often the truth hurts - if Real Madrid are serious about signing David de Gea this summer the Red Devils are absolutely powerless to stop the Spanish stopper returning home.
Madrid simply don't take no for answer when it comes to top transfer targets, that's a fact. Time and time again Los Blancos have identified their new 'Galactico' and been met with initial resistance, before splashing the cash to get the niceties out of the way and get their man to the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo was a prime example of that. Here's what Sir Alex Ferguson memorably said in December 2008 when asked about interest from Madrid in his Portuguese star: “Do you think I would get into contract with that mob. Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.” Six months later he was sold to Madrid for £80 million.
Player power will ultimately always win out
United will hope that their faith in De Gea will be repaid by a show of loyalty arguably their most important player so far this season if Madrid do come calling, but I wouldn't count on it.
De Gea was born in the Spanish capital and surely has his eyes on replacing Iker Casillas at the Bernabeu in his long-term future, with the attachment to former club Atletico nowhere near strong enough to prove an obstacle to Madrid getting the man.
Valdes signed with De Gea's exit in mind?
To make matters worse for United the 24-year-old only has 18 months left on his current contract, which leaves them even more vulnerable to a derisory summer offer from any club interested in taking arguably the most improved goalkeeper in world football.
United will continue to make every effort to persuade De Gea to sign a new deal, but have clearly made a move to sign free agent Victor Valdes as a contingency to make sure the club have a ready-made replacement ready to step.
Valdes is on the verge of signing an 18-month deal and will surely not expect to sit on the bench waiting for his chance for the majority of that spell.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is the ultimate pragmatist when it comes to the transfer market and must know Madrid are in the driving seat to sign De Gea, which is exactly why he's decided not to wait for the inevitable and take a punt on Valdes.
United fans should enjoy watching De Gea while they can, because in all likelihood he'll be heading back to Spain in the not too distant future.
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