Real Madrid want to tie up a deal to sign David De Gea quickly, in time to have him on the club's books for the flight to Australia on a pre-season tour.
The 24-year-old could find himself up against Manchester City in only his second game for Real, as the Spaniards play Manuel Pellegrini’s side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 24 July. His curtain raiser could be against Roma a week earlier in the same stadium.
With United’s harbouring hopes that they can secure a player as part of the transaction and Karim Benzema a name of interest to them, the deal may not be straightforward.
Real, confident that the goalkeeper wants to move to his spiritual home in the Spanish capital and aware he has only a year on his contract to run, could begin with a bid as low as £25m, which would represent only a £7.2m profit on the individual they took the gamble on signing from Atletico Madrid as an untested senior professional, four years ago. A £35m asking price would seem more realistic from a United perspective.
For Real, there is relief that they have uncluttered the situation by persuading Iker Casillas to leave. When he arrived to be unveiled as manager last week, Rafael Benitez thought that Casillas would dig his heels in. He seemed determined to see out the two years remaining on his contract and leave on a free transfer at the end of that period.
Benitez he did not want to have the start of his managerial career there marred by the distraction of having two warring goalkeepers on his hands. He wanted the Casillas business sorted out – eradicating the farce of some Real fans booing the 34-year-old in a feud borne out of his acrimony towards Jose Mourinho.
In what seems to represent a first victory at the Bernabeu for Benitez, the new manager had a one-to-one meeting with Casillas and made it clear that there was not room for both him and De Gea in the squad.
United manager Louis van Gaal disclosed last month that a shortlist has been drawn up of potential replacements for De Gea. The Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Chelsea’s Petr Cech are the leading candidates.
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