Manchester United have been in discussions with the highly-rated young Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea and his club Atletico Madrid, with the intention of taking him to Old Trafford this summer, according to the players agent.
With Edwin van der Sar, the former Dutch international goalkeeper, set to retire this summer, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be in the market for a new first-choice stopper. Ferguson has little faith in the erratic Tomasz Kuszczak to be the clubs new number one – Polish international Kuszczak is expected to be sold in the summer – whilst Anders Lindegaard, signed in January, is presently seen as back-up only.
Ferguson is known to want a stellar name capable of dealing with the pressure of being United’s number one, as he doesn’t want a similar situation to that which arose when Peter Schmeichel left the club in 1999.
Ferguson tried a number of goalkeepers, such as Massimo Taibi, Mark Bosnich and Fabien Barthez, to replace the dominant Dane, but had little success until finally signing van der Sar from Fulham in 2005. The United boss would later admit that he should have tried to purchase the Dutchman some six years sooner.
Names such as Schalke 04 and Germany international stopper Manuel Neuer and van der Sar’s replacement with the Dutch national team Maarten Stekelenberg, have been heavily linked with Old Trafford. But it is the young Spaniard De Gea who is top of Ferguson’s list.
The Spanish under-21 international only broke into the Atletico Madrid side last season, displacing fellow youngster Sergio Asenjo after some indifferent performances following his big-money move from Real Valladolid.
Since making his first team bow De Gea has enjoyed a meteoric rise, putting in some fantastic performances as Atleti won the Europa League last season, beating Liverpool in the semi-finals and Fulham in the final.
The talented 6’5″ ‘keeper, has shown a penchant for terrific reflex saves, whilst portraying a nervelessness in hostile arenas, such as the Bernabeu, Camp Nou and San Mames (the respective homes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao). Furthermore, in his 18 months he has almost made 100 first team appearances for Los Rojiblancos and been called into the full Spain squad.
De Gea has a €20m release clause in his contract at the Vicente Calderon, and the players agent has confirmed that talks have taken place between the two parties.
“We did have talks with Manchester United but, first of all, they always look for an agreement with the club,” said Héctor Rincón.
“Anyway, most of the biggest European teams have shown interest in David de Gea.
“His release clause now is €20 million [about £17 million] but I have no idea if the club would sell him for less.
“Right now, the player has a contract with Atlético and if Manchester United or any other team want him, they will have to reach an agreement or pay the whole release clause.”