REAL Madrid have defended their conduct over the failed bid to sign David de Gea and accused Manchester United of holding up the move.
The clubs had agreed a deal worth £29 million for the sale of De Gea to the Bernabeu, with Keylor Navas joining United, but the deal fell through after the requisite paperwork was not submitted before the Spanish deadline of 11pm on Monday.
United claimed Madrid were the ones to blame for the situation, but the Spanish giants issued a statement yesterday condemning the actions of the Old Trafford club.
“Real Madrid has done everything necessary, and at all times, to implement these two transfers,” said Madrid in a lengthy ten-point statement published on their website yesterday.
Madrid claim in the statement that United did not open negotiations with them until Monday morning.
The Spanish club say they then came to a “quick agreement” over the transfer of Navas to United and that of De Gea to Madrid.
The statement adds that Madrid forwarded the relevant contracts to United at 12:39pm BST – more than ten hours before the window was due to shut.
Madrid claim that United took more than eight hours to return the contracts to them, and they came back with “minor alterations”.
Madrid say they accepted the changes and sent the contracts, with the signatures of Navas and De Gea, to United at 10:39pm.
An agreement between United and Navas was not reached until 10:53pm UK time, according to Madrid, who also claim the English club then did not upload the documents into Fifa’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) until 11:00pm.
Madrid claim they then tried to access the deal via TMS, but were unable to do so as the window had already closed.
Madrid may claim that United only opened negotiations with them on deadline day, but, in reality, the ten-time European champions knew all summer what the asking price was for De Gea, and they did not meet it.
United first demanded Sergio Ramos in exchange for De Gea, but when the defender renewed his contract with the club, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward set a new price of £32.6million for the goalkeeper.
Madrid made a tentative enquiry about De Gea earlier in the summer, but no real offer was made until Monday morning.
The reputation of Madrid president Florentino Perez has taken a blow following his failure to land the club’s top transfer target.
After being told he was to be sold, Navas will now be the club’s No 1 for the rest of the campaign.
It would come as a huge surprise if Madrid did not sign De Gea on a free transfer next summer. They are free to open negotiations with the 24-year-old from 1 January.
United are said to be “relaxed” about the situation. A world-class goalkeeper who was leaving remains at Old Trafford.
Whether De Gea is mentally strong enough to cope with a return to first-team football remains to be seen. Manager Louis van Gaal has omitted De Gea from his squad for the first six games of the campaign because he has felt the goalkeeper has not been able to mentally focus due to Madrid’s interest in him.
The United boss now has the option of introducing De Gea back into the first-team fold when he returns from international duty with Spain next week. United next face Liverpool at home a week on Saturday.
Van Gaal must decide whether to put De Gea back in goal for the match at Old Trafford or stick with Sergio Romero, whose error allowed Bafetimbi Gomis to score the winner for Swansea in their 2-1 victory over United on Sunday.