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Manchester United relaxed about Real Madrid's pursuit of David De Gea and feel Joel Pereira could become new No 1

If De Gea did go there are many at Old Trafford who feel the club wouldn’t even sign a short-term replacement with Pereira rated that highly

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Friday 14 July 2017 12:48 BST
Real Madrid remain interested in David De Gea but Manchester United are relaxed about the situation
Real Madrid remain interested in David De Gea but Manchester United are relaxed about the situation (Manchester United)

He is likely to stay but the threat of leaving, well, hasn’t gone away.

Despite strategic leaks that the Spanish side had given up their interest, despite ongoing discussions between the clubs on a range of subjects, and perhaps partly because of a hint of tension out of all that, the threat of Real Madrid coming back in for David De Gea with extreme prejudice has always lingered for Manchester United.

Even in a summer where there has been a much greater bullishness about the club’s transfer after the coup of signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton ahead of Chelsea, they still know they need to be on guard against a bigger fish.

That bullishness, however, is also one big reason why United remain relaxed about any renewed De Gea bid. Given that they are so cash-rich, given that they have absolutely no need to sell and given that the 26-year-old has recently signed a new contract, the Old Trafford hierarchy have an extremely strong negotiating position if Real do come in again.

If they wanted to, and if the European champions really were that pushed on bringing a Spanish star back to Madrid, United even have the option of suggesting a straight exchange for one of the Bernabeu’s proper stand-out stars like Toni Kroos - as has already been mooted.

That, however, is not the only reason they are relaxed. If it did happen, and De Gea did go, there are many at Old Trafford who feel the club wouldn’t even sign a short-term replacement. That is because there are many at the club who feel that the current third-choice goalkeeper Joel Pereira has the potential to be even better than De Gea. He really is thought of that highly, with Jose Mourinho even name-checking him and referencing that quality on various occasions.

The 21-year-old Portuguese youth international isn’t quite ready yet, though, and the idea would be to gradually bring him on under the example of De Gea. If the current number-one were to leave, some at the club believe Mourinho would initially alternate between Pereira and the very dependable Sergio Romero.

Manchester United have high hopes for Pereira who could succeed De Gea as No.1 (Manchester United)

There is still something else that makes United relaxed about the situation, though. Real just haven’t been able to get into De Gea’s head and quite use their media to influence the situation in the way they have with similar targets. While the Spanish international and his partner Edurne Garcia might obviously like to go back to his home city, he has been in no way abrasively pushing for a move. He’s instead been very relaxed, and content - just like United right now.

The situation, aptly, is very much in their hands. That may change - but it’s going to take an awful lot.

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