Heavily courted by Real Madrid throughout the summer so far, few expect to see goalkeeper extraordinaire David de Gea don a Manchester United shirt again.
Yet as the start of the new season draws ever nearer, the staunch views regarding the certainty of the Spaniard’s departure are rapidly softening.
This is reflected in the betting, where De Gea, who was once 1/5 to sign for Real, can now be backed at 3/5 to join the Bernabeu outfit, with 6/5 saying he stays put. The entirety of this market and the full range bwin has to offer can be accessed by clicking this link.
There’s a convincing argument to be made suggesting why the move will definitely go ahead – the 24-year-old is a Madrid native with one year left on his contract and Los Blancos are searching for a new keeper.
But recent developments justify the big drift in price.
Firstly, De Gea has been included in the touring party for Man Utd’s pre-season jolly around the United States.
This suggests a deal for his departure is nowhere near to being struck.
After selling Iker Casillas to Porto, Real are without a recognised number one (Keylor Navas’s future is also currently uncertain) and with the new La Liga campaign underway in just over a month, they have a pressing need to fill a fundamentally important position.
Similarly, if they don’t sell De Gea, United wouldn’t be able to offer any inbound keeper guaranteed first-team football, severely impacting their ability to recruit a world-class stopper.
The lack of alternatives for the Red Devils is another factor draping the potential transfer in doubt.
Hugo Lloris was widely recognised as their backup plan should De Gea depart, but the Tottenham keeper’s recently fractured wrist has called that into question.
Unless a keeper of comparable quality can be sourced, United would be unwise to sell, even it means losing their star man for nothing in a year’s time.
It’s also worth noting that Louis van Gaal has far bigger problems still to address before the transfer window closes, namely signing a centre-back and a striker.
Further complicating the quandary through the selling and, subsequently, having to replace De Gea so close to the commencement of the new campaign is the perfect recipe for a slow start.