De Gea’s Transfer Debacle

degea21 Image: Sky Sports

Lost In Added Time – The David De Gea Transfer Debacle

The debacle of Manchester United’s goal keeper to Real Madrid sparked a version war between two of the world’s soccer giant clubs.  Who sent the documents in a two-minute delay, was this an act of revenge? And why do both clubs actually lose from this saga?

The transfer window was officially shut on September 1st; with a shower of deals being struck across England, where money was spend as if there is no tomorrow.  Probably the most memorable story of all this crazy summer-transfers, is actually one transfer that did not go through.  And for some time ahead, many will still recall what happened 2 minutes after midnight Spain Time, on the night between Monday and Tuesday.

After weeks of rumours, Manchester United digging its heels and ignoring its goalkeeper that wanted to transfer to Real Madrid, United concluded with Real the terms of the deal on Monday, August 31st: €35/$38 million and Real’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas in exchange for David De Gea.

Everything seemed to be agreed, but apparently the clock had plans of its own…

The Spanish Soccer Federation did not approve De Gea’s registration, as Real sent the documents late, after the midnight deadline when the Spanish Transfer Window shuts.  The amazing case raised criticism on the conduct of both clubs, and started a mud-slinging episode between the two.

Real Madrid admitted to be late, but said Manchester United was responsible for the delay.  In an official statement from the club, shows a detailed itinerary of the negotiations.  Where it is said that United agreed to begin discussions only on Monday afternoon, and had stalled for many hours on small amendments in Navas’s contract: “United entered De Gea’s transfer details to the computerized transfer system on midnight, but we received the documentation only at 2 minutes past midnight; at which time we no longer had access to the system.  We decided to go ahead and send the documents anyhow, we did all that within our power to conclude the deal”.

Sources in Spain report by the way, that Real Madrid only passed the documentation to the Federation at 28 minutes past midnight.  Real’s only hope is to appeal to FIFA, but it is unclear whether this route will be taken.

Several voices heard in Spain are certain that this is Manchester United’s act of revenge, for Real’s refusal to sell to United its star defender Sergio Ramos this summer.  In the meantime, sources in Manchester United claimed that the team had completed on time all of its requirements, and that it holds the documents to prove it.

United also came out with a statement where it claimed that did not instigate contact with Real earlier on Monday and were not looking to sell De Gea.  And more so, the amendments in the documents were significant and delivered to them at a late hour.

And what will happen next?

Assuming the situation will not change, De Gea will remain in Manchester United for the time being.  This brings a tough decision to United’s Manager Louis Van Gaal’s doorstep.  Until now, Van Gaal did not let De Gea play this English Premier League Season, and said he will set him aside until close of the window transfer, due to De Gea not being fully committed to the team.

Replacement Sergio Romero captured De Gea’s spot and was not as bad, but was responsible for one of the goals in the losing match against Swansea on Sunday.

It is likely that David De Gea will feel angry returning from the break, but United cannot afford to bench one of the world’s top goalkeepers.

De Gea is only signed with Manchester United until next summer.  And it does not appear that Real Madrid will agree to the same terms on the next transfer window in January – given it can get De Gea on a free transfer next year.

That is to say, the possibility of De Gea remaining in Manchester United for the forthcoming year seems inevitable.

So bottom line: Louis Van Gaal won and got to keep the goalkeeper he wasn’t willing to let go.  Still, that means that United will eventually lose him at no gain.

Was this the initial plan behind Monday’s conduct? Probably no one will tell.