De Gea tells Manchester United: I want to join Real Madrid The Spain goalkeeper has made up his mind and his representatives have informed the Premier League club that he is set on a move to Spain – despite advising him to stay in England

The Red Devils must now determine
whether to sell De Gea this summer or to
hold the Spain international to the final year
of his contract, losing him on a free transfer
at the end of next season.

The attraction of playing for Spain’s biggest
football club combined with the opportunity
to return to his home city and residence of
his girlfriend were significant factors in De
Gea’s decision to leave the Premier League.

United’s handling of the 24-year-old in
recent years – including Louis van Gaal’s
instruction that the club hold off on the
offer of a new contract last summer until the
incoming manager had time to work with
De Gea in person – facilitated Madrid’s
approach.

It is understood that De Gea’s advisors
recommended that the Spaniard spend a
further two years in English football before
joining Madrid. Their argument was that the
Premier League provides the best
environment for an already highly capable
goalkeeper to further develop in the
position.

The allure of Madrid, however, proved
irresistible to De Gea, and he has elected to
follow Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van
Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze and David
Beckham in exchanging Old Trafford for the
Bernabeu.

Signed from Atletico Madrid for a British
record fee for a goalkeeper of £17.8 million
(€24.4m) in 2011, De Gea was named
United’s Players’ Player of the Year both in
2013-14 and 2014-15. He has won one
Premier League title at Old Trafford and
twice been named in the Professional
Footballers’ Association’s Team of the Year.

Van Gaal signed former Barcelona
goalkeeper Victor Valdes to United on an
18-month contract in January. During his
first transfer window as Old Trafford
manager, the Dutchman asked United to try
to sign Costa Rica international Keylor Navas,
but lost him to Madrid in a €10m transfer.

The United boss remains an admirer of a
player who held his Netherlands side
goalless for 120 minutes of their 2014
World Cup quarter-final and has included
him on a list of potential summer
replacements for De Gea.

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