Speculation about the future of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been increasing of late. The Spanish international’s current contract is set to run out at the conclusion of the 2015-16 campaign and United are actively trying to re-sign their number one to a long-term extension.

As of yet, no agreement has been reached between player and club. But United and manager Louis van Gaal are confident De Gea will sign an extension and remain at Old Trafford.

The 24-year-old has been with the Premier League club since 2011 and has developed from a sensational, young shot stopper into one of the best all-around goalkeepers in the world.

Speculation is that if the two sides are unable to negotiate a new deal, United will attempt to cash in on the player or risk losing him on a possible free transfer in June 2016.

Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid are rumored to be closely monitoring the situation at Old Trafford, and – according to some accounts – have already been in contact with the player and his representatives about a potential move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following United’s decision to offer former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes an 18-month contract, rumors ran rampant that the signing of the 32-year-old former Spain international was a clear sign the club were about to lose their current number one to Madrid.

To this point, De Gea has not commented on his future and has never expressed a public desire to return to Spain. But “insiders” and “people in the know” seem to believe that the goalkeeper is longing to join the reigning European and Club World Cup champions in the Spanish capital.

But De Gea and his representatives will understand that the timing isn’t right to leave United and join Real Madrid. The La Liga club already has Spain’s number one goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Madrid recently signed 28-year-old Costa Rican Keylor Nevas as his backup.

Casillas signed an extension with the club and his current deal won’t expire until the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign. Real Madrid are simply not going to sign a third top class goalkeeper to their squad.

Former club president Ramon Calderon recently stated that speculation linking De Gea to Real Madrid is foolish. Calderon expressed that Casillas is still in top form and has shown no signs of slowing down.

“We already have the best goalkeeper in the world, which is Casillas,” Calderon recently stated. “We also have just bought Keylor Navas. I don’t see any need to get any other goalkeeper.

“De Gea is perhaps also one of the top five goalkeepers in the world but Casillas can still be top for three or four years. I don’t see any need [for De Gea].”

It would seem that if Real Madrid were to move for De Gea, Casillas would be the likeliest of Ancelotti’s goalkeeping choices to be shown the exit. But unsettling the 33-year-old Spain international is something the La Liga club will not want to revisit after seeing what transpired two seasons ago.

Casillas is a major influence in the Madrid locker room and is a legend at the club. Current Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has pledged his loyalty to the player following the fall-out of former manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to bench Casillas during the closing stages of the 2012-13 season. Mourinho’s decision created a massive issue that ripped the locker room apart and sabotaged Real Madrid’s campaign that season.

The current atmosphere in the locker room is a stable and officials at the La Liga side will not want to disrupt the unity Carlo Ancelotti has fostered over the past season and a half.

The likeliest scenario for all involved is that Casillas and Navas remain Real Madrid’s first and second-choice goalkeepers for the next two seasons while David de Gea signs an extension with Manchester United for a substantial increase in wages.

United will want to include a considerable release clause in any new deal for De Gea in order to ward off future interest from clubs. But Real Madrid have shown that money isn’t an issue when the club decides to delve into the transfer market.

In all likelihood – as Iker Casillas’ contract begins to run down – Madrid officials will look to replace their first-choice goalkeeper with United’s current number one. Although that will be unsettling for United fans to hear, they can take comfort in knowing that any transfer won’t take place for another two years.

David de Gea will sign an extension and be a Manchester United player next season. But his future lies away from Old Trafford.