It is not only a case of misfortune for Manchester United if David de Gea opts for a return to Madrid this summer, but the Premier League will also lose a player renowned as one of the best in his position.
There has been an ongoing topic of discussion among spectators this year that the Premier League is losing its attraction and that the standard of football has suffered as a result. To back that up with tactical awareness, all English teams were caught out in European competitions - without any exception.
Chelsea unquestionably deserved to be crowned Premier League champions, but they were shown up by a Paris St. Germain side in the Champions League that were schooled by finalists Barcelona in the next round.
English football has some way to go in order to catch up with Spanish, German and French opposition, and losing players like David de Gea is not going to help.
Ahead of a potential transfer to Real Madrid this summer, as mooted by the Express, here’s a look at five goalkeepers Manchester United should consider if Louis van Gaal does not opt for Victor Valdes as his number one.
Hugo Lloris - Tottenham Hotspur
Captain of the France international team and a formidable presence in Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side. Hugo Lloris deserves Champions League football, and that looks to be some way off reappearing at White Heart Lane.
Sweeper keepers are becoming more common in the game today, especially after Manuel Neuer's heroics at the 2014 World Cup. It’s an attribute that makes the goalkeeper a team’s eleventh outfield player.
Lloris is prolific in terms of sniffing out danger and is a much more realistic target for Manchester United than, say, Bayern Munich's Neuer. The main worry Louis van Gaal and his coach, Frans Hoek, may have with the 28-year-old is his low standard of distribution. As a manager that prefers goalkeepers comfortable with the ball at their feet, with willingness to start attacks from defence, that is likely to be a stumbling block.
Lloris previously expressed interest in joining a club that has Champions League football. Is that writing on the wall?
Petr Cech - Chelsea
Understandably agitated by playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, the Czech Republic international has been at Stamford Bridge since 2004 and has made over 325 appearances for the club.
Nothing has been announced, but Cech’s potential exit will sadden Chelsea fans without it being a major surprise. The 33-year-old is too good of a goalkeeper to be sitting on the bench and after such a stellar career, he deserves to be showcasing his talent on a regular basis.
Cech didn’t necessarily do anything wrong to warrant dropping from Jose Mourinho’s first-team. Ultimately, the club has a young goalkeeper they could not afford to have unhappy. Courtois is the future, Cech is not.
That is not to say Cech is a ticking time bomb. Edwin van der Sar was no spring chicken when he arrived at Old Trafford before being a key part of their Champions League-winning side in 2008, saving the final penalty from Nicolas Anelka.
A good option for Louis van Gaal to bring in with a wealth of experience. Chelsea would clearly prefer to see him leave for a foreign opponent, so United could have difficult negotiating to construct.
Sergio Rico - Sevilla
This 21-year-old is arguably the best up and coming La Liga goalkeeper. After receiving a call-up to the Spain international squad this week, Rico is bound to pop up in the speculation filters frequently, and United could be among the clubs linked.
A local Sevilla lad, born in Andalusia, Rico came through the youth system at the Ramón Sánchez Pizuán, playing for the reserves in Segunda División B.
In 2014, a year after signing a two-year deal with Sevilla, Rico profited from injuries to Beto and Mariano Barbosa and made his first-team debut in a 2-0 win over Getafe CF. By December he was promoted to the main squad and signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until 2017.
After 32 appearances for Sevilla this season, it can be argued Rico deserves his international call-up, but talk of a Premier League move may be premature. The last time United signed a young Spanish goalkeeper it was a success but that’s not to say it happens like that every time. Also, fans may be hesitant because if he becomes a world beater like David de Gea, Real Madrid or Barcelona will come knocking.
Salvatore Sirigu - Paris St. Germain
This 27-year-old is widely considered to be heir-apparent of Gianluigi Buffon, who if Manchester United could someway clone and make approximately 5-10 years young, it would be the perfect answer to their potentially problematic dilemma.
Although it may not say much, it counts as a individual honour regardless, Sirigu was voted goalkeeper of the year (2013-14) in France. It is unfortunate for the PSG goalkeeper that Buffon is of the same nationality and until the Juventus goalkeeper retires, he will have infrequent international opportunities.
However, that should not turn off potential buyers. For much of David de Gea’s time at Manchester United he was not even considered to feature for Spain, with the likes of Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes ahead of him in the senior pecking order.
This one may be a stretch, like Sergio Rico, but he’s 27-years-old and is still capable of progressing.
Keylor Navas - Real Madrid
Without question one of the stars of the World Cup in Brazil, posing between the sticks for Costa Rica. Navas did enough to convince Real Madrid to move in and lure him away from Levante, which will probably have United fans questioning why Los Blancos didn’t give him many opportunities when Iker Casillas has not been doing particularly well.
The 28-year-old did, however, join Real Madrid when it was suggested he would replace Casillas as the club’s No 1. Now that looks like a space to be filled by De Gea, should United show interest or plump for another option?