THE BLOG

Ronaldo 2.0: Why David de Gea's Potential Real Madrid Move Is Not Fatal to Manchester United

05/04/2015 22:22 BST | Updated 31/05/2015 10:59 BST

In football, certain things are just inevitable. Brazil will never stop producing world-class talent, England will lose any penalty shootout they compete in, and Real Madrid will always get their man in the transfer market.

The latter is something Manchester United fans will know too well.

Cast your mind back seven years. Real made it clear they would stop at nothing to sign Cristiano Ronaldo after he sealed his status as the world's best player. Sir Alex Ferguson managed to convince the now former United no.7 to give him one more season at Old Trafford, but eventually Real pulled it off. They always do.

Ronaldo moved for £80m in the summer of 2009. But Real's business never ends. Los Blancos are (at some point) set to raid United again and take Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea off their hands. It looks like a question of when, not if.

Every Manchester United fan will want de Gea to stay at Old Trafford, there's no question about that. He has developed into one of the top three goalkeepers on the planet. But given the situation regarding his contract, his tendency to keep quiet under the speculation and that Jorge Mendes is his agent, there can't be many United fans confident they'll be able to keep him.

The former Atletico Madrid man could sign a new contract at Old Trafford - and he should, too. His current deal expires in 2016 and United will do all they can to tie him down long-term. Their bargaining power is probably at its weakest at the moment, but once de Gea re-signs the balance will be restored.

But even a bumper new contract won't cast Real Madrid's interest to one side. De Gea is essentially the perfect fit for Madrid - he's already good enough to step in and it coincides with the decline of current number one Iker Casillas.

While speculation has reigned that Real will move for de Gea at the end of this season, you get the feeling this process will be far longer drawn out. Perhaps it's a move destined to happen in 2016 - after all, that's when Casillas is expected to step away from the Bernabeu.

Though even if Real were to get their man, Manchester United have recovered from far worse positions. Losing David de Gea is not the end of the world.

As much as everybody would love to see the 24-year-old stay in the Premier League, it would not be fatal to United's aspirations of getting back to the top. Providing the new contract is signed, United will be in a position to demand a world record fee for a goalkeeper if de Gea is to move on. And that will only need to come into play when Real get the ball rolling. United can keep their heads down until it happens.

Yes, you can argue that Manchester United are big enough a club to not fall foul to the interests of a predator. But in this case, the decision will rest in the hands of the player - and it's not in the club's best interests to keep someone against their will. That's just how football is nowadays.

United should fight to keep him, but with a girlfriend who thinks Manchester is "uglier than the back of a fridge", it's obvious where de Gea is going to be pulled towards in his personal time. In the worst case scenario, however, there's still plenty of options out there to take his place between the sticks.

Hugo Lloris would likely be made number one on the list. The French captain has proven Premier League experience, has age on his side and is as able a shot stopper as the Spaniard is. There's a plethora of promising goalkeepers playing in the Bundesliga, Genoa's Mattia Perin is waiting for his big move and there's a number of others across Europe that should at least be considered.

But while United should do everything they can to hold on to de Gea, some things just can't be denied. Should the day come for de Gea to take his business back to Spain, it'll be a time to reflect on the great times he's spent in Manchester, thank him for his service, and move on.

Football is a business and this saga is looking like Cristiano Ronaldo 2.0. But United recovered from that, and they'd come back from this too.

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