A summer transfer window during which approximately £870 million was spent by the 20 English Premier League clubs suggests that there is more pressure than ever to buy success to the detriment of allowing younger players develop through the academies and then into first team members at that level. Both Manchester Clubs have been involved in several costly transactions with City recruiting both Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne for a total amount exceeding £100 million while United’s £36 million acquisition of Anthony Martial, which added to several other expensive purchases, are just some examples of the lavish outlay among the elite English outfits. However, it is the transfer which never happened which caused as many headlines as those which were completed.
The proposed transfer of goalkeeper David de Gea from Manchester United to Real Madrid occupied the media sporting journalists for much of the season with ongoing suggestions that there would be swap involving defender Sergio Ramos moving from the Bernabeu to Old Trafford. No doubt there was much discussion between the two football clubs and the array of relevant agents involved. Ramos eventually ended one part of the saga by signing a new deal with Real Madrid much to the dismay of United but to his apparent delight.
Attention then turned to the De Gea issue which attracted added significance when Louis van Gaal refused to select the Spaniard to play for United on account of continued negotiation involving his transfer to Madrid. Reserve goalkeeper Keylor Navas, valued at £7 million, was added to the deal allowing Real to pay just £22 million for the services of De Gea but that is when the proposed transfer became a problem.
Legendary agent Jorge Mendes was attempting to broker a deal between Real and United for the De Gea transfer but Navas is represented by Ricardo Cabanas whose influence may be not quite as reputable as is the case with Mendes. Why a deal had not been concluded well before the Spanish transfer deadline of midnight 31st August is an issue requiring some explanation by both camps, but the fact that Real were two minutes too late in registering the De Gea and Navas transfers has provoked an angry response from both clubs, each apportioning blame to the other.
United have cited delays in negotiations with Cabanas while Real have blamed the English for the late arrival of necessary forms as each transfer has to recognised by both football federations via the international Transfer Matching System (TMS). Whether it be incompetence or just basic football politics for the failure of the De Gea transfer, it does appear that that two of the three richest clubs in the World cannot appear to conduct a transfer between themselves to the agree time limit, with neither club wishing to accept any blame.
The issue and that of the Ramos saga is most likely to worsen long-term relationships between the two clubs as they both seek dominance over their counterpart. Such a fractious outcome to the transfer window will also endanger any hopes which Gareth Bale may cherish of signing for Manchester United in the near future, a proposed transfer which has also been mooted for several months.