Real Madrid are determined to sign David De Gea this summer and because they are not ready to repeat the ridiculous episode of August 31, 2015, they have set to work well in advance with De Gea himself already instructing the Red Devils to sell him.
As you will recall, on that occasion, the double transfer of the international goalkeeper from Manchester United to Madrid and Keylor Navas from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to Old Trafford fell through because the transaction documents did not arrive on time.
The next day both entities were accused of hampering the agreement.
To avoid this, Los Blancos have activated ‘Operation De Gea’ with enough time so as not to exhaust the deadlines, and they have reached an agreement with the goalkeeper, who will sign for five or six seasons.
The next step in the strategy, the player communicating to the English club his desire to sign for Madrid and ask them to negotiate a transfer, was given about three weeks ago.
Coincidence or not, following that meeting De Gea was out of the side against Sunderland on April 9.
He had played 63 games consecutively in the Premier League and Mourinho alluded to a small physical problem in the hip, but days later some words of his about the rumours that linked De Gea to Madrid were interpreted as some tension between coach and goalkeeper.
“I’m not interested in talking about speculation, I don’t think he should be interested in talking about it either,” Mourinho said.
“We’re playing against very important teams, every game is crucial and I don’t see that David is having any problems with this.
“The end of the season is the time when players can think about what will happen to their careers.”
It was a message typical of the Portuguese, and he has come to accept that De Gea’s move is inevitable.
So much so that he is already clear on who will replace him: Joe Hart.
The veteran goalkeeper is at Torino and his transfer would be an earthquake in Manchester.
Mourinho won’t keep anyone against their will but Real Madrid have already resigned themselves to having to pay a world record for a goalkeeper, even more than the 54 million euros that Juventus paid Parma for Buffon 15 years ago.
The most expensive goalkeeper
The clubs have not yet started negotiating, but there is speculation that the figure that will be around 70-75 million euros.
De Gea is seen as a strategic signing for several reasons.
The first is because Real need to reinforce there, one of the few positions that they need to improve.
The second, is to rejuvenate the staff (David De Gea is just 26 years old), and the third is to avail themselves of the services of the goalkeeper of the Spanish National Team, an important aspect for several reasons, some linked to marketing.
One of the keys to the negotiation will be the strong interest of Mourinho in two players: Morata and James.
In the case of the striker, United have a serious competitor in Chelsea, which are also looking at Romelu Lukaku.
His transfer price wwill be around the same figure as De Gea, 70-75 million, but Madrid will insist on two separate transfer operations.
With James the price is similar.
Although Courtois (24) and Donnarumma (18) remain as alternatives, Florentino Perez is determined to sign De Gea and settle a debt.
Everything indicates that this time the operation will have a happy ending.