To put it bluntly, deadline day was a complete and utter shambles as far as Manchester United fans were concerned. Their club’s outgoings on the final day of the transfer window were more than questionable, and with only one new signing arriving through the doors at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, it has left even the most upbeat followers of the club astounded and bemused. The proposed David De Gea transfer to Real Madrid epitomised this overwhelming feeling felt by almost every single Manchester United supporter.
A transfer that has dominated the news all summer, it was surely only a matter of time before Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea achieved his dream of moving to Real Madrid. It wasn’t until Monday, the deadline day in Spain, that negotiations finally started between the two clubs. A deal had been reached late in the day in excess of £29 million – £18 million in cash for De Gea, as well as Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who Madrid valued at £11 million. The deal looked likely, and United fans all around the globe were beginning to accept the fact that the 24 year-old would be making a permanent move back to his homeland for a fee far below their valuation of him.
Late on Monday night, however, reports started to surface that the deal had fallen through. La Liga had not received the relevant documents on time. United and Madrid blamed each other, neither wanting to admit that it was their fault that the transfer had failed to take place. The Spanish club chose not to appeal to the league, which makes you wonder whether they intentionally withdrew from proceedings themselves at the very last minute knowing full-well they could get their man for free next summer. What was clear though, was that the deal was dead. David De Gea’s dream move to the Spanish capital is now on hold.
From start to finish, this whole situation has been a complete disaster. Club legend Peter Schmeichel described the saga earlier in the week as an “absolute joke” and it is hard to disagree with him. Louis Van Gaal has known for some time that De Gea would not be signing a new contract. He has known for some time that his first-choice goalkeeper wants to move to Real Madrid. He also knows that he could have either sold him in this window and received a slight profit for someone they paid just over £18 million for back in 2011, or let arguably the best goalkeeper in world football leave on a free transfer next summer at the tender age of 25. As it stands, the latter is almost certain.
Let’s face it, nobody involved with the football club wanted De Gea to leave. United’s player of the season for the last two years, he has shown time and time again that he has the potential to go on and become one of the best goalkeepers in history. But this has been a nightmare for both the player and the club. Van Gaal, after claiming that his number one was not in the “right frame of mind” to start any of his side’s six games in all competitions so far this season, now has a decision to make. Does he bring De Gea straight back into the side now that this summer’s transfer window has ended? Will the Spanish goalkeeper immediately return to the form he has shown for the last two seasons during the current campaign, or will his thoughts still be with Madrid? Sergio Romero was exposed against Swansea on Sunday afternoon, and although he hasn’t done terribly, it is quite clear that the Argentinian is nowhere near the Spaniard’s exceptionally high standards. You would expect De Gea to return to the starting eleven and act professionally. After all, he owes it to himself more than anyone else to reach the heights of last season and prove why Madrid were so adamant on making him their major summer signing and their next Galactico. Who knows, if he returns to the form he has shown so often, United may end up finishing higher than fourth place this season. De Gea won points on his own last year, and with a more assured defence in front of him this time around, expect him to shine once again in the United shirt.
The outcome is inevitable. In a year’s time David De Gea will belong to Real Madrid. For the time being, however, he needs to get over the disappointment of this summer and focus on doing what he does best, and that’s performing on the pitch. United may lose him on a free transfer next year, but for at least one more season they will have questionably the world’s best goalkeeper back in their side. His first start of the season won’t be far away, I’m sure of that. It wouldn’t come against Liverpool at Old Trafford on September 12th, would it?