United’s hand strengthened in de Gea stand-off

Whilst the phoney war over David de Gea continues, the events of Sunday and Monday could be the most significant yet.

The United star’s presence on their flight to the US confirmed that there is, as yet, no deal in the pipeline although, as many have said, flights to and from the US are plentiful and so the distance itself will not be a factor.

More significant though is Real’s decision to allow Iker Casillas to join Porto. Allowing their club captain – and fan favourite, to leave without a deal in place for his replacement is a sign of bold desperation from the Spanish club – a move that, they hope, will convince de Gea of his role in their squad and encourage him to push to make a move happen.

If anything, United’s hand has been strengthened. Ed Woodward has clearly decided on an acceptable fee and, if that figure is not met, would be happy to hold de Gea to the final year of his contract. Madrid now find themselves without a world-class goalkeeper and with the choice of either matching United’s asking price, turning elsewhere or writing their season off and waiting until 2016. Whilst the first two options are to United’s benefit, the third, to Madrid’s fans still mourning the departure of Casillas, would be unthinkable.