22nd of April 2012: Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea concedes four goals against Everton at Old Trafford in a match which would prove pivotal in the title race.
It's a forgettable match and season for United and De Gea, who had had a tough first season in England, drawing plenty of questions over his circa £19million transfer and his worthiness as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar.
Just over three years later however, and De Gea finds himself in the PFA team of the year, having been credited as being one of the main reasons for his teams return to the Champions League, a feat which for a goalkeeper, is quite remarkable really.
Is it any wonder that he is being mentioned among the likes of Manuel Neuer and Thibaut Courtois?
And yet with this drastic change in form, prestige and stature comes interest from a club that are infamous for spending large and not resting until they have done so. A team who pursue the players that they want until the only thing to be negotiated is the club-sponsoring sports car that they will have to advertise.
Real Madrid of course. And like with many of Madrid's former targets, rumours of a De Gea arrival refuse to fade.
It's clear that the rumours have been affecting De Gea, his performances have dropped over the past couple of weeks, having conceded some arguably savable goals against Aston Villa and Everton, and this can't help you but pose the question: is his head elsewhere?
Now it's clear that De Gea has done enough to deserve to play for a team of world-beaters, who challenge for every piece of silverware available, rather than patting themselves on the shoulder with a fourth place finish. But even so shouldn't United and indeed Atletico fans be a little more irked with the keeper's seeming reluctance to commit himself with Madrid in the background?
For Atletico supporters, it must be challenging constantly seeing your former stars linked with your closest rivals, a team who they strive to compete on the same level with using a fraction of the funds.
While for United fans, it should be frustrating seeing the player whom they discovered, nurtured, comforted and trusted during the difficult times in his career turning his back in order to sign for a team who they are competing with on the world stage, financially and historically. Yet there is no fan uproar, only panic.
But why is this? Well the answer is simple. It goes back to a relevantly new cliche: Player loyalty is dead. And fans have become accustomed to it.
Manchester United fans: do you think David de Gea will join Real Madrid? Let us know below!
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