LONDON - Manchester United are determined not to sell David de Gea to Real Madrid this summer, and their hopes rose on Tuesday that they might pull off a blockbuster deal for Antoine Griezmann.
It had looked like United were preparing for a future without De Gea when the goalkeeper was left out of the team by manager Jose Mourinho towards the end of the season. But United are heading into the summer with a strict ‘not for sale’ stance.
De Gea almost left for Real two summers ago only for the move to collapse at the last minute after the Spanish giants couldn’t get their paperwork ready in time. Back then United were vulnerable as the player only had a year left on his contract and could have left for nothing a year later.
Now the situation is different as De Gea has since signed a long-term deal, which means there is no danger of his value decreasing if he is not sold this time round.
Real have started their usual propaganda war with their favoured media outlets in Spain reporting that a transfer is certain.
United are aware of this and relaxed about it, meaning the only way De Gea could be sold is if he actually asks to leave.
Two years ago he cut a very unhappy figure as his future was thrashed out during a pre-season tour under Louis van Gaal. De Gea’s mental approach was questioned by many at the club at the time and it will be interesting to see how the saga plays out this time round, given that the 26-year-old was not happy to sit on the bench for the last few games of the season.
Meanwhile, United are monitoring Griezmann’s situation closely after reports in Spain yesterday claimed that the France striker has asked to leave Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish club will demand the full £89 million buyout clause in his contract and coach Diego Simeone is ready to sanction the move if he is allowed to bring in a replacement.
Atletico are waiting to find out tomorrow if FIFA have lifted the second year of their transfer ban, allowing them to sign new players this summer.
The 26-year-old last week said his chances of joining the Old Trafford club were ‘six out of 10’ - and that was before United qualified for the Champions League by winning the Europa League.