In Depth

Man Utd vs Real Madrid: what now for De Gea and Navas?

Goalkeeping transfer fiasco leaves Real Madrid in a weaker position than Man United, who still have their prize asset

David De Gea Keylor Navas

A war of words has erupted between two of the world's biggest football clubs after the Real Madrid failed to sign Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea on transfer deadline day, leaving the Red Devils' Spanish shot stopper and his opposite number at the Bernabeu in limbo.

The deal foundered on Monday when Real Madrid failed to submit the required paperwork in time for the deal to go through before the Spanish transfer window closed.

Real subsequently issued a ten-point statement on Tuesday in which they insisted they had done "everything" they could to complete a £29.2m deal that would also have seen Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas move in the other direction, and putting the blame on Manchester United.

The Old Trafford club responded with a statement of their own, denything they were responsible for the hold-up and pointing out they have the backing of the FA on the matter.

"The fact that Manchester United filed the papers on time was acknowledged by the Football Association," said the club, adding that it would fight its corner if Real Madrid appealed to Fifa.

"Manchester United acts appropriately and efficiently in its transfer dealings," said the statement. "The club is delighted that its fan-favourite double Player of the Year, David de Gea, remains a Manchester United player."

De Gea himself may be less delighted, however. But he has "little choice but to knuckle down and, whatever his grievances, he will not lack motivation when there is a European Championship to come next summer", says Daniel Taylor of The Guardian. "No one will see him kissing the United shirt this season but he can still wear it with distinction."

He may also have cause to wonder why Real Madrid did not make an offer for his services until lunchtime on deadline day, notes Taylor.

United now realise that De Gea will leave the club on a free transfer next summer, "but [Louis] Van Gaal and the club’s hierarchy believe that keeping De Gea for this season is a positive outcome, despite the goalkeeper's uneasy relationship with the manager and goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek following Van Gaal's decision to omit him from squads so far this season due to the distraction of the Real transfer saga," says the Daily Telegraph.

Indeed it is Real who could suffer most, as they missed out on De Gea and must now placate Navas, whom they tried and failed to offload as part of the deal. The Telegraph claims that Navas was so disgruntled that he contacted United on Tuesday asking them to sign him before the English transfer deadline passed.

"All that Real Madrid have achieved is [to] knock both keepers' confidence," says Spanish sports paper Marca. "Keylor will stay on as Los Blancos' first-choice keeper, but what must he be thinking? Things are even worse for David. Will Van Gaal reinstate him now or leave him out in the cold?"

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