Real Madrid are delaying David de Gea’s decision

Despite widespread reports from England, David de Gea has not made a decision on his future and has not said ‘goodbye’ to his teammates and staff at Manchester United.

The 24-year-old goalkeeper is currently training with the Spanish national team as it prepares for its friendlies against Costa Rica and Belarus. When he’s not taking part in individual or team workouts, De Gea is being showered with attention from Real Madrid officials and being nudged by his agent Jorge Mendes to join the La Liga giant.

De Gea has been targeted by club president Florentino Perez as his ‘galactico’ signing for this summer.

There is no Plan B. Perez wants De Gea. And what Real Madrid want, they usually get.

All signs are pointing towards the player returning to Spain to play for what many consider the biggest club in the world.

Team captain Iker Casillas has said that he is willing to step aside to allow someone else to start between the posts at the Bernabeu next season, and De Gea’s girlfriend and family currently live in the Spanish capital.

So what is the hold up? Why is it taking so long for De Gea to make a decision that most seem to feel is predestined?

There are two reasons: the lack of continuity at the club and Madrid’s fanatical supporters.

During the twelve years that Florentino Perez has been in charge (two separate terms between 2000-06 and 2009-2015) there have been ten managerial changes at the club. This includes head coach, assistants and other members of the staff.

The revolving door of managers is surpassed by the number of players that come and go from Madrid.

Perez has spent $1.3 billion dollars on transfers during his twelves years at the helm with a return of three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.

Last season, after finally securing La Decima, Perez pushed the team’s most valuable player, Angel di Maria, out of the club in order to complete the signing of James Rodriguez from Monaco.

It’s moves like these which have continually destabilized the dressing room while making the players and manager’s job more difficult than it should be.

Another reason for De Gea’s indecisiveness is the potential for criticism from Real Madrid supporters.

This season a large section of Madrid’s fans were on their worst behavior. The team were routinely whistled and jeered at home, with none of the players being spared the supporter’s contempt.

The biggest targets of their negativity being veteran captain Iker Casillas and Gareth Bale – but even Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t spared the fans’ vitriol this season. The relationship between supporters and players became so bad that members of the team refused to acknowledge the fans at the conclusion of matches. 

In March, things became so bad that Florentino Perez called a press conference to plea for the fans support (and to blame the media for attempting to “destabilize” the club).

But only a few days later a handful of supporters confronted the team during the early morning hours after Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona.

As the players left the training ground they were verbally abused and some had their cars punched by angry fans. Television footage went viral showing the fan/player altercations and a bemused Sergio Ramos was shown asking the disgruntled supporters: “Do you really think this is the right attitude?”

Now, every club has a set of supporters who can overreact and/or cross the line. But Madrid fans are fanatical. And when things aren’t going well they have shown that their patience wears thin for anything less than perfection.

It takes a special player who can play – and thrive – in this toxic environment of instability and fan scrutiny.

David de Gea may not see himself as that player.

After a brief blip, Manchester United have found the man to lead them forward following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. This season Louis van Gaal and his assistant Ryan Giggs (who many feel will ultimately take control of the club whenVan Gaal’s contract expires) provided stability and leadership following a disappointing 2013-14 campaign under David Moyes.

Even while the team struggled due to the loss of their long-time manager, the players and coaches received consistent support from United fans at home and on the road.

De Gea himself went through a period when he was struggling with a new league and developing as a player. Instead of being whistled and jeered at Old Trafford, the young goalkeeper was supported and allowed to grow into the player he has become.

That support played a part in the Spaniard being honored as the United’s Player of the Year in successive seasons, as well as being named to the PFA Team of the Year this season.

After four seasons in England, De Gea has reached a comfort level with the coaching staff and his teammates which will be hard to match at Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old has publicly hailed his relationship with goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, and developed strong friendships a number of United players, most notably Juan Mata and Ander Herrera.

So the question remains: Will De Gea choose to move closer to his loved ones while finding a way to acclimate himself to the lack of continuity and clamorous support at Real Madrid? Or will he remain at Manchester United?

We’ll just have to wait and see.


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  1. Keith Wikle June 3, 2015
  2. utdfan June 3, 2015
  3. GlenM June 3, 2015
  4. Opti June 4, 2015

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