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Football News: Who Won, Real Madrid or Manchester United?

Who Won, Real Madrid or Manchester United?
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In the summer, one of the biggest deals fell apart on deadline day, the proposed swap deal involving Real Madrid's Costa Rican international goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, and Manchester United's Spanish international shotstopper, David de Gea, fell apart, in a news story that rumbled on for a long time afterwards. This article is not about that move, as such, so I will not be getting into the details of why it fell apart or the blame game surrounding its collapse. This is just examining who got the best of the deal falling through. Which of the two sides can actually be thankful for the mess up?

Manchester United fans will, I have no doubt, be extremely thankful the move never happened, as David de Gea was, without doubt, the biggest single factor in the club's top 4 finish last season. The Spaniard made save after save of the highest quality, as the team in front of him stuttered and spluttered and left him exposed at times. De Gea was a clear choice as United's player of the season, as he made matchwinning save after matchwinning save. The summer saw his head turned, replacements arrive, and de Gea dropped from the matchday squad as the season began.


Cameras would sweep to him sat in the stands, with other surplus Man Utd goalies alongside him, as his replacement, Sergio Romero, made errors and generally struggled to look even close to being good enough to fill his shoes. Even as a free, he was beginning to look like an overpayment! With de Gea's contract having just one year to run, and transfer deadline day looming, United fans were resigning themselves to losing him sooner, rather than later. Then, of course, came the debacle of deadline day and the next thing anyone knew de Gea signed a new contract and was restored to the side.

It was like it had never happened, and had all just been a Man Utd fan's nightmare, as the restored de Gea quickly established himself as probably the best keeper in English football and the Red Devils defence became solid once more. While there is still uncertainty about his long term future at United, with his future still seeming to belong back home in Spain at some point, for now the red half of Manchester are just content to have one of the world's best keepers shoring up their defence. Safe in the knowledge that his lengthy contract means someone, probably a Madrid-based side that plays in white, would have to pay through the nose to sign him. On that basis, it has worked out perfectly for Manchester United.


Over on the Iberian peninsula, you could be forgiven for thinking that things are not so rosey, as Real Madrid club legend Iker Casillas had kept Keylor Navas out of the team for the vast majority of the previous season. This despite Casillas having a poor season, Navas was still just a back up for him. With Casillas having left the club early in the window, to make way for de Gea, Navas had inherited the spot between the sticks. However, things are never as they seem in Madrid, as all Madristas know, there is an ongoing power battle at the club, with certain players having a lot more power behind the scenes than they should.

Casillas was one such player, he had been a cause of ongoing off field issues for a long time and his place in the team was more about politics than ability, as he is a shadow of the player he once was. A player that, even at his peak was probably not as good as Navas is. Once in the side, Navas cemented his place with some excellent displays, which led to the Madrid crowd chanting his name during a match in the run up to transfer deadline day, making it clear they did not want to swap him for de Gea. Since then, Navas has proven to be an excellent keeper, well deserving of his place as the Real Madrid number one, so the deal has worked out just as well for Madrid.


So far then, we have to say both teams can be extremely happy with the way things worked out and be glad that no deal took place, but, what if the deal had happened, would that have been any better or worse for either team? Man Utd would have got an excellent keeper, plus a decent amount of money to add to their bank account, but Navas might well have taken time to settle. There would have been a large probability of language issues, even if Keylor Navas can speak English, the English spoken in England is not quite the same as he would expect. That might well have hindered his ability to slot in as effortlessly as de Gea, being Spanish, would have slotted in to a Spanish team.

There is the lifestyle issues as well, Madrid is a tiny bit different to Manchester, just some minor differences in climate and culture, well just about as different as possible really. Navas would have had a complete change to deal with, culture shock could well have been a major issue for him and possibly affected his performances. On the other hand, de Gea would be just going home, there would have been little adjustment required for him to fit in to the lifestyle of the Spanish capital. Not just that, but Navas would be uprooting his family and they are unlikely to view the delights of Manchester as an upgrade on Madrid, and that could have left him with a headache at home, preying on his mind and affecting his game.


De Gea's other half, on the other hand, has made no secret of her desire for him to return to Spain. The only real issue that is likely to have arisen, for de Gea moving to Real Madrid, is that the fans did not want him, they wanted to keep Keylor Navas and made that plain. However we all know that fans are fickle and it would only take a couple of good performances from their new man for them to forget all about the one he replaced. With the quality David de Gea is capable of, it is certain he would have won the fans round quickly.

It does seem, looking at the evidence, that Manchester United fans have the most to be thankful for in the summer. Though standing pat is probably best for both parties, for now at least, United are the ones that gained the most by the deal's collapse. It is a very rare case of a win win situation, even both keepers benefited by getting pay rises on the back of it not going through.

Written by Tris Burke November 13 2015 09:23:29