Real Madrid believe they can prise David de Gea away from Manchester United this summer, two years after they failed in a bid to sign the Spain goalkeeper.
Real have rekindled their interest in De Gea and are prepared to fund a world-record bid for a goalkeeper in an effort to land the Madrid-born 26-year-old.
United have insisted De Gea is not for sale and will rebuff Real’s advances but they were prepared to bow to the goalkeeper’s wish to move to the Bernabéu in 2015 before the deal collapsed on transfer-deadline day, with both clubs blaming each other.
Jose Mourinho has stated this season that he will not stand in the way of players who want to leave Old Trafford, as was the case with Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and it is thought the United manager is exploring other goalkeeping options in the event his hand is forced.
Mourinho is keen to avoid a saga developing over the summer and questions about De Gea’s future casting a shadow over preparations for next season. That is what happened to Louis van Gaal at the start of last season, when De Gea was left out of the team and then reinstated after a cash-plus-player swap deal with Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas fell through.
De Gea subsequently signed a four-year contract that ties him to Old Trafford until June 2019. Mourinho shares the same agent, Jorge Mendes, as De Gea and retains good relations with Florentino Pérez, the Real president.
But Real would have to pay around £50 million to stand any chance of signing De Gea, which would eclipse the £33 million record fee for a goalkeeper that Juventus paid Parma for Gianluigi Buffon in 2001.
Mourinho on Tuesday likened the challenge of restoring former glories at United to the one he faced at the Bernabéu in 2010, when he was asked to find a way of ending Barcelona’s dominance.
Mourinho succeeded in winning the La Liga title in his second season with Real and hopes this campaign at Old Trafford will be “the first season of better years”.
“I would say it’s similar to the Real Madrid one because they were two giants in two difficult periods,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “You go to the giant club, you feel the dimension, you feel the pressure and expectation. But you also feel the club is not ready, not ready for this kind of expectation and you have to work more.”