Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has suggested that Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea may not actually want to leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid this summer, despite the persistent rumours in his homeland linking him with a switch to the Bernabeu.
Balague, who marked his weekend by losing to ridiculous pop duo 'Jedward' on a celebrity edition of popular gameshow 'Pointless', oddly comments that De Gea could still be forced to go, though, for reasons that seem entirely unclear and, well...pointless.
"Do Real Madrid want De Gea? You bet they do. What surprises me, however, is why a club like Manchester United - that have no need to sell him - would be prepared to let him leave. I'm sensing a hidden agenda," the pundit explained to Sky Sports.
A recent report from Spanish outlet Marca claimed that De Gea had agreed a 'five or six year' deal with Real and had formally asked to leave United as a result. That was quickly refuted in a follow up report by the Daily Telegraph the next day and Balague says he has also been told that De Gea's request for a transfer had never happened.
"There are plenty of rumours that David de Gea is Real Madrid-bound, but I am not convinced that this is the wish of the current United goalkeeper.
"Just why would he want to leave a club that is one of the world's biggest, a club on the up, and where he is unquestionably the number one to move to Madrid where he will be on less money and the pressure will be higher?
"Not for the first time in situations like this, the Spanish press have announced that not only does De Gea want to leave but have gone as far as to say that he has even requested a move.
"I have been told that he has not said anything of the kind to United. Why do the Spanish press keeps insisting he wants to go then?"
What Balague said next is strange. He started to speculate that United's plans to spend hundreds of millions in the transfer market could result in De Gea being made to leave anyway. He seems to be suggesting that the club and not the player would be driving the sale.
"I am reliably informed that Manchester United are willing to spend in the region of £300m to £400m this summer to achieve what they want. They could spend more if necessary," he said.
"Just how that equates to selling De Gea, one of their most-prized assets is beyond me,
especially when the likelihood is - despite what the Spanish press may have been told - that he doesn't want to leave."
"My feeling is that De Gea could, very soon, be facing one of those 'no-choice' situations, the net result of which will leave Real Madrid having to pay a huge amount of money to United to secure his services," he added.
"The outcome of that situation might well be a return to his place of birth for Spain's, and arguably the world's, current number one goalkeeper, whether De Gea likes it or not."
When considering that the general stance from reliable English sources up to now has been that United are adamant they do not want to sell, none of it makes much sense.
Is Balague right on the player's intention, but ultimately barking up the wrong tree with the rest? If De Gea wants to stay why would United still want replace an elite goalkeeper that they actually have no need to replace at all? Pointless.
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