Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea had dreams of becoming a striker and loved scoring goals as a boy, it has been revealed.
This is according to Atletico Madrid academy president Juan Jesús Antolín, who has told Spanish newspaper Marca that De Gea loved playing upfront before he decided to focus on playing in goal.
"In his first year, as an under-8, he wanted to be a striker and score goals," Antolín revealed, "but in the end he swapped goalscoring for goalkeeping and that is where he is at the top of his game."
De Gea is now on the brink of securing a summer move to Real Madrid following four seasons with Manchester United, but Antolín does not begrudge the 24-year-old a move to Atetico's fierce local rivals.
"What's good for David is good for everyone," he added. "Now he is joining the neighbours, but what can we do? I hope he enjoys himself and is happy there. We just want what is best for the lads we're training here."
De Gea's asking price
De Gea, who cleaned up at Manchester United's end-of-season awards ceremony earlier this week, will have 12 months left to run on his contract at Old Trafford next month.
United know De Gea has his heart set on a move to Real Madrid, who have identified the Spaniard as the ideal replacement for Iker Casillas, but the sticking point regards the potential transfer fee.
It was reported this week that Los Blancos have offered €20 million for De Gea, but United want a fee in the region of €50 million.
While De Gea is arguably one of the top three goalkeepers in the world at present, the fact his contract is a year away from expiring means United will need to lower their asking price or risk losing him for nothing next summer.
Real Madrid would rather sign De Gea this summer, but will not pay over the odds on a player they could sign for free in 12 months' time.
Can Valdes replace De Gea?
If Real Madrid successfully strike a deal with Manchester United, Louis van Gaal must then decide whether Victor Valdes is still good enough to play week-in, week-out for one of the world's biggest clubs.
The former Barcelona star made his United first-team debut against Arsenal last weekend after De Gea limped off injured, but conceded a disappointing Theo Walcott effort which deflected off Tyler Blackett.
United have been linked with Hugo Lloris, Samir Handanovic and Petr Cech in recent weeks - could one of them replace De Gea next season?
Tell us who should replace David de Gea in the comments section below!
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