The war of words between Old Trafford and the Bernabeu escalated last night after Manchester United issued a statement insisting Real Madrid were to blame for the collapse of David de Gea’s proposed transfer.
The day after De Gea’s £29m (€40m) move to the Spanish capital was called off, Madrid pointed the finger at United, issuing a lengthy 10-point statement claiming officials at Old Trafford held the deal up with their delays.
But United hit back at their old rivals by publishing a counter-statement last night. The statement read: “Manchester United acts appropriately and efficiently in its transfer dealings. The club is delighted its fan-favourite double Player of the Year, David de Gea, remains a Manchester United player.” In their 443-word statement, Madrid claimed they had to wait until Monday — deadline day in Spain — to “open any channel of negotiation’” with United over De Gea.
After a deal had been struck for the transfer of De Gea, and Keylor Navas, who was to head in the opposite direction, Madrid claimed they sent United the contracts for the deal at 12.39 BST – over 10 hours before the window closed. The Spanish giants then claim United made “minor modifications”, which were accepted.
Madrid added United did not reach agreement with Navas over his part of the deal until seven minutes before the window shut. The result, they claim, was United did not upload the details into Fifa’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) until 11pm exactly. That meant Madrid could not complete their part of the process and that is why the deal collapsed, according to the Spanish club.
United, however, insist the botched transfer was all Madrid’s fault. In their statement, United angrily rejected the idea they left it until the last minute to decide to sell De Gea.
“Manchester United did not seek contact from Real Madrid for the sale of David,” United said. “David is a key member of our squad and the club’s preference was not to sell.”
United also claim Madrid made an error in the last couple of hours of the window. They claim they sent the transfer documents for both players to Madrid at 8:42pm and received them back at 10:32pm, without De Gea’s “signatory page”.
United also claim Madrid made “major changes” to the documentation 20 minutes for deadline, which “immediately put the deals at risk”
United insist they had still not received the requisite documentation for Navas’ transfer at this point either.
Finally, United claim they uploaded the relevant documents at 10:58pm, two minutes before the deadline.
Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal took his total expenditure as Manchester United manager to over £250m (€338.6m) following the signing of Anthony Martial from Monaco. As expected the Old Trafford club confirmed yesterday they completed a deal to sign the 19-year-old French striker for a fee worth in excess of £36m (€48.7m).
United tweeted: “#mufc is pleased to announce French forward @AnthonyMartial has completed his transfer from Monaco. #WelcomeMartial”
He becomes the 12th signing of Van Gaal’s reign. In total, the Dutchman has spent around £261m (€353.4m)on new additions since he took over as manager last summer.
Martial, 19, becomes the most expensive teenager in the history of football, eclipsing the £30m (€40.6m )fee Van Gaal paid for Luke Shaw last year.
Monaco, who signed Martial from Lyon two years ago, rate the player highly, but United’s offer was simply too good to turn down.
Martial said: “I’m so excited to be joining Manchester United. I have enjoyed my time at AS Monaco and I would like to thank them and the fans for everything they have done for me.
“I have always wanted to play in the Premier League and to join the biggest club in the world is what every young footballer dreams of. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and working with Louis van Gaal, who has achieved so much in his career.”
Martial may be inexperienced but he is not fazed about the challenges he will face in the Premier League.
“I don’t feel the pressure,” he said. “I know there is pressure but I’m ready for it. I’m very proud. I’m very happy because I worked hard for this and my family is very happy about it.
“I spoke with the coach, Louis van Gaal, and I know that I need to work very hard. It’s not easy to speak about myself but I am a very fast player. I hope that everything will go well for me at this club.”
Van Gaal was delighted to sign his man, but warned not to expect too much too soon from the Frenchman.
He said: “Anthony is a naturally talented, young, multi-functional forward with great potential. We have been watching him for a while now and he has developed immensely during his time at AS Monaco.
“I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him .”
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