Louis van Gaal knows it, all of Manchester United’s supporters know it and the vast number of Premier League followers will be aware of it. David de Gea wants to sign for Real Madrid this summer.
However, wanting it and getting it are two completely different things, with Van Gaal currently playing hardball as Real refuse to meet the goalkeeper’s asking price.
The problem for the Red Devils is that the 24-year-old will be free to leave for nothing at the end of this season once his contract has expired and they could be better cashing in now, even for a reduced fee, if it means receiving payment.
This doesn’t seem the chosen strategy if the latest reports are to be believed, with Van Gaal prepared to let De Gea depart on a free.
But there are a modern-day collection of seven deadly sins that he could utilise to attempt to force through a move and change Van Gaal’s mindset.
De Gea has already made a start in ticking off this checklist, with two completed in the past few days.
Refuse to train or play
The former Atletico Madrid stopper has reportedly indicated to Man Utd goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek that he didn’t want to be considered for inclusion against Aston Villa.
Use the media to show discontent
However, other reports point out that De Gea is “baffled” by such claims, agreeing that he had talks with Hoek, but without suggesting he was unavailable for selection.
Fake an injury or illness
With De Gea unlikely to be picked until the transfer window has closed, he has no real reason to make up an injury. But he wasn’t selected on the club’s pre-season tour, with Van Gaal citing injury as the rationale.
Go over the manager’s head
If Van Gaal continues to refuse to budge, De Gea could go directly to executive vice chairman Ed Woodward in order to state his feelings and position.
Hand in a transfer request
This can obviously be rejected and De Gea’s desire to leave is no secret, but there have been examples previously of a transfer request being enough to force a move.
Be a bad influence in the dressing room
What we haven’t seen yet is fellow Red Devils coming out and stating how much De Gea is unsettling them or making things difficult in training. Van Gaal will surely not want a bad egg disturbing preparations, even if he could be banished to work with the youth team.
Stoop to levels of gross misconduct
This is certainly the most extreme, but the final straw for De Gea could be to do something to get fired, releasing him from his current contract early.
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