Van Gaal fears De Gea will leave United

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
De Gea limped off in what may have been his final game at Old Trafford on Sunday
De Gea limped off in what may have been his final game at Old Trafford on Sunday

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted his Spanish keeper David De Gea may be about to seal a move to Real Madrid.

De Gea has been widely tipped to leave Old Trafford for the Bernabeu for several months, with the United boss suggesting the keeper will decide his own future as he considers a offer from the dethroned European champions.

"A transfer is an individual thing. It is a process," stated Van Gaal.  "He has to decide because we have given him a fantastic contract and we want him to stay.

"But I analyse his position and then I say he is Spanish, he is a Spanish international and now a Spanish club is coming. His girlfriend is Spanish.

“I don’t think I can persuade him because he knows everything he has at this moment here at Manchester United.

“So I don’t have to say something in benefit of Manchester United, because he can feel it every day. You have seen the fans, they are unbelievable. When he is going, he is losing that. Here he has a lot of credit. He has to decide."

De Gea limped out of Sunday's 1-1 draw against Arsenal, which may well turn out to be his final appearance at Old Trafford for United and he offered this Twitter message to his fans.

Our latest Sunday World back page (below) suggested De Gea's move to Real Madrid may be followed by United trying to sign Gareth Bale from the dethroned European champions, with former United defender Gary Neville urging the club to sign the Welshman.

“Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will all want Gareth Bale. So if you are going to give Real a player I think it would make sense to try and get Bale and steal him in return for De Gea," Neville told the Sky Sports podcast.

"Once a player only has a year left on his contract Manchester United have a decision to make if Real do come for him, as it looks like they will.

“With his form this season I was always hopeful he’d stay but with the wave of noise in the press it just looked to have an inevitability about it.”

Check out Van Gaal's post match news conference following the draw with Arsenal that almost certainly means United will face a play-off to qualify for the Champions League group stages next season.