Real Madrid returns fire, blames Manchester United for collapse of de Gea deal

FÚTBOL-REAL MADRID

Real Madrid have defended their conduct over the failed bid to sign David de Gea and accused Manchester United of holding up the deal.

United and Madrid had agreed a deal worth £29 million for the sale of De Gea to the Bernabeu, with Keylor Navas heading in the other direction. But that deal fell through after the requisite paperwork was not submitted before the Spanish deadline of 11 p.m. on Monday.

United claimed Madrid were the ones to blame for the collapse of the deal, but the Spanish giants issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the actions of the Old Trafford club.

“Real Madrid has done everything necessary, and at all times, to implement these two transfers,” said Madrid in a lengthy 10-point statement published on their website on Tuesday afternoon.

Madrid claim in the statement that United did not open negotiations with them until Monday morning.

SEE MORE: Up-to-the-minute transfer deadline deals.

The Spanish club say they then came to a “quick agreement” over the transfer of Navas to United and that of de Gea to Madrid. The statement adds that Madrid forwarded the relevant contracts to United at 12:39 p.m. British Standard Time – over 10 hours before the window was due to shut.

Madrid claim United took over eight hours to return the contracts to them, and the documents came back with “minor alterations”. Madrid say they accepted these changes and sent the contracts, with signatures from Navas and De Gea, back to United at 10:39 p.m.

An agreement between United and Navas was not reached until 10:53 p.m. U.K. time, according to Madrid, who also claim the English club then did not upload the documents into FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) until 11:00 p.m. Madrid claim they then tried to access the deal via TMS, but were unable to do so as the window had already closed.

SEE MORE: De Gea earns Spain recall despite playing time with United.

Madrid may claim that United only opened negotiations with them on deadline day, but in reality, the 10-time European champions knew all summer what the asking price was for de Gea, and they did not meet it.

United first demanded Sergio Ramos in exchange for de Gea, but when the defender renewed his contract with the club, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward set a new price of £32.6 million for the goalkeeper.

Madrid made a tentative enquiry about de Gea earlier in the summer, but no real offer was made until Monday morning.

The reputation of Madrid president Florentino Perez has taken a blow following his failure to land the club’s top transfer target.

After being told he was to be sold, Navas will now be the club’s number one for the rest of the campaign.

It would come as a huge surprise if Madrid did not sign de Gea on a free transfer next summer. They are free to open negotiations with the 24-year-old from Jan. 1.

United, meanwhile, are said to be “relaxed” about the situation. A world-class goalkeeper who looked to be on his way out of Old Trafford now remains at the club. Whether de Gea is mentally strong enough to cope with a return to first-team football remains to be seen, though.

SEE MORE: Manchester United makes Anthony Martial soccer’s most expensive teenager.

Louis van Gaal has omitted de Gea from his match day squad for the first six games of the campaign because he has felt the goalkeeper has not been able to mentally focus due to Madrid’s interest in him. The United boss now has the option of introducing de Gea back into the first-team fold when he returns from international duty with Spain next week.

United’s next match is at home to Liverpool a week on Saturday.

Van Gaal will have to decide whether he wants to put de Gea back in goal for the match at Old Trafford or stick with Sergio Romero, whose error allowed Bafetimbi Gomis to score the winner for Swansea in their 2-1 victory over United on Sunday.

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