The war of words between Old Trafford and the Bernabeu escalated on Tuesday 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 £29 million (Dh163m) 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.
The statement read: “Manchester United acts appropriately and efficiently in its transfer dealings. The club is delighted that its fan-favourite double Player of the Year, David de Gea, remains a Manchester United player.”
Marca report that De Gea is astonished that Real Madrid blew his dream move. He no longer rules out a contract renewal. You know it’s right.
— Liam (@OffsideLiam) September 1, 2015
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 (British Standard Time) – over 10 hours before the window closed.
The Spanish giants then claim United made “minor modifications”, which were accepted. Madrid added that 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 that United did not upload the details into FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) until 23:00 (midnight in Spain) 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 that 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 20:42 and received them back at 22:32, 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”, according to the 20-time English champions. 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 22:58, two minutes before the deadline. The United statement added: “It is our understanding that the deals couldn’t happen because: “Real Madrid didn’t upload David’s documents onto TMS in time (Manchester United did).
“(And) Real Madrid didn’t upload David’s documents to the Spanish league in time, per reports it seems some 28 minutes after the deadline.
“The fact that Manchester United filed the papers on time was acknowledged by the Football Association, who offered to support that claim in any discussions with FIFA. The club offered this assistance, as well as its own timestamped documents to Real Madrid but they have chosen not to go down this route.”
The Spanish press slammed Madrid’s failure to deliver their prized target in the transfer market, with the front pages of sports newspapers Marca and Sport describing the situation as “ridiculous”.
De Gea on Marca’s cover for the 14th time since May. There’s even a letter about him in their Dear Deidre equivalent. pic.twitter.com/uOsYWtETkk
— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) September 1, 2015
United fans, meanwhile, joked on social media that chief executive Ed Woodward deliberately sabotaged the deal. Madrid have not indicated whether they intend to appeal to FIFA in an attempt to force the transfer through.
FIFA refused to comment on the specific details of the case when contacted, but confirmed that no appeal had been lodged by any of the parties involved. T
he omens certainly don’t look good should they appeal as in January Levante attempted to sign Bryan Ruiz from Fulham on a six-month loan. The deal was completed at 00:01 but after Levante appealed, FIFA, who took 10 days to review the paperwork and reach their decision, ruled the transfer could not be validated.
De Gea has just one year left on his contract at Old Trafford, meaning he could join Madrid for free next year if the transfer does not go through now.