Manchester United will compete with local rivals Manchester City to bring Kevin de Bruyne to the Premier League, with reports claiming the Red Devils have been “cleared to sign” the Wolfsburg playmaker in a staggering £50 million deal.
That’s according to "reports" cited by Louis Sealey of Metro, who claims that Wolfsburg are willing to listen to offers for their prize asset, despite Klaus Allofs having previously labelled the ex-Chelsea man as “unsellable” in an interview with Doppelpass (via David Anderson of the Daily Mirror).
Landing De Bruyne may still be a fantasy capture in the eyes of a lot of Manchester United supporters despite these stories. Bleacher Report’s Andy Brassell recently took a look at some of the more likely business the club will do in the latter stages of this transfer window:
De Bruyne would certainly add something spectacular to this Red Devils team. Operating in a central berth behind the striker at Wolfsburg, the Belgian international has been a creator extraordinaire for the Bundesliga club. His technical qualities, ability to see a pass and quick feet have made him one of the top playmakers on the continent.
As such, the numbers he totted up during the 2014-15 season were pretty sensational, as we can see here, courtesy of Squawka football:
But it seems unlikely United would be willing to part with £50 million for the player, as good as he is. The Red Devils have already bolstered their midfield, and in Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, they have plenty of players capable of filling the attacking midfield slot. Meanwhile, there are areas in the squad which still need addressing, most notably at centre-back and centre-forward.
According to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, City are the team most likely to wrap up De Bruyne’s signature in a £48 million deal. At this juncture, if he is to end up at Old Trafford, it’s going to take an almighty effort from the Red Devils to lure him there.
David De Gea’s Girlfriend Drops Madrid Hint
Real Madrid’s pursuit of David De Gea has been one of the summer's transfer stories so far, and it seems as though his other half may have given away whether his future will be in the Spanish capital or Manchester.
According to Jaime Rodriguez of El Mundo (h/t ESPN FC), Edurne Garcia, reportedly said, “Now, when he is in Madrid, everything will be much easier,” at the end of an interview after the microphones had been turned off. As noted in the piece, the United stopper has been linked with a move to Los Blancos for a long time now.
United have stood firm throughout the summer, despite the Spanish giants' interest, but as the window edges closer, the prospect of cashing in on De Gea, who has just one year remaining on his current Red Devils deal, must start to look a little alluring. After all, if the Red Devils do want to find an appropriate replacement, they’ll have to spend big themselves.
As noted by OffsideLiam, United have taken a big risk by leaving this saga to run, with their Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur just days away:
Still, we shouldn’t read into off-the-cuff comments like the aforementioned ones. De Gea is expected to join Madrid, as Garcia notes, but it still remains to be seen whether or not it will be this summer or the next, with the Spanish international able to sign a pre-contract with the La Liga juggernauts in 2016.
United are in a precarious situation. Sell now and they’ll have to scramble for an appropriate replacement in the latter stages of the window, whereas if they do decide to keep De Gea, while he’s a top-class operator, there’s a danger an unsettled player can disrupt the ambience of the squad. One thing is for sure—manager Louis van Gaal has a critical decision to make.