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.
Al Ahli will celebrate the Arabian Gulf League-record arrival of Moussa Sow at a press conference this afternoon after they completed the landmark €17 million (Dh70.6m) deal with Fenerbahce.
Sow, 29, was announced as a Red Knights player late on Tuesday night once he had successfully undergone medical examinations in his native France.
The Senegal international is set to fly to Dubai on Wednesday morning, his historic purchase coming at an even greater cost to the ambitious top-flight title chasers than the celebrated transfers which brought the likes of Asamoah Gyan to Al Ain and Ricardo Oliveira to Al Jazira.
The former Rennes and Lille star will be joined by fellow new boy Lima, who has scored four goals in three games since his €7m (Dh28.4m) move from Benfica.
“Al Ahli have reached an agreement with Fenerbahce for the contract with Moussa Sow,” a club statement read. “The player had medical tests earlier in France and will be in Dubai on Wednesday.
“He will sign with the club and be presented to the media with fellow new player Lima.”
The move had been expected since the Turkish giants announced on Friday they had agreed a €16m (Dh66.5m) fee, a further €1m (Dh4.1m) going to the player to end a successful three-year stay, which brought 52 goals in 107 appearances plus the 2013-14 Super Lig title.
Sow is expected to slot in on the left wing of boss Cosmin Olaroiu’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
He will not be available for this season’s AFC Champions League as registration closed last month – the Red Knights currently holding a 1-0 quarter-final, first-leg advantage over Iran’s Naft Tehran.
The switch will see Oussama Assaidi drop out of the four-player foreign quota, though he may be retained for continental duty.
Sport360 casts its eye over the transfer dealings across Europe’s big four leagues – outside of England – where the window closed on Monday night.
Joaquin is making an emotional return to boyhood club Real Betis after they agreed a fee of €1m (Dh4m) with Fiorentina, allowing the 34-year-old winger to sign a three-year contract with the club he represented 1999-2006.
3 – Joaquín has recorded the third highest number of successful dribbles in La Liga since 05/06. Artist. pic.twitter.com/g2n6yGChse
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 31, 2015
Also back in Spain is former Atletico forward Adrian, who has joined Villarreal on loan from Porto.
Malaga, meanwhile, have snapped up one of the most highly-rated youngsters in European football by signing Hachim Mastour on loan from AC Milan. Earlier this summer the attacking midfielder became the youngest-ever player to represent Morocco, debuting shortly before his 17th birthday.
Australia winger Robbie Kruse will join Socceroos team-mate Mitchell Langerak at VfB Stuttgart this season after being loaned out for a year by Bayer Leverkusen.
The 26-year-old has had a tough three years at Leverkusen, where he has a contract until 2017, since his arrival from Fortuna Duesseldorf in 2013. He was restricted to just 21 Bundesliga appearances and two goals after tearing his cruciate knee ligament and then getting injured again at the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg’s acquisition of Julian Draxler meant the club allowed midfielder Aaron Hunt to join Hamburg on a three-year deal.
— VfL Wolfsburg EN (@VfLWolfsburg_EN) August 31, 2015
It was a busy day in Italy with Inter sealing the transfer of Serbian forward Adem Ljajic from Roma with Brazilian playmaker Hernanes then departing for Juventus.
Ljajic, 23, will move to the Nerazzurri with Inter having the option of making the deal permanent for €9m (Dh37m) next summer.
Hernanes, meanwhile, was last night undergoing a medical in Turin after being deemed surplus to requirements at the San Siro by manager Roberto Mancini.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 31, 2015
Elsewhere, Alessandro Matri made Lazio his fifth club in the space of two years by joining from AC Milan on loan while Polish winger Jakub Blaszczykowski signed for Fiorentina from Dortmund on loan.
Lille snapped up France Under-21 international striker Yassine Benzia from Lyon for a fee of around 3m (Dh12.4m). Benzia, 20, has struggled to break into the first-team at the Stade Gerland, making just 11 appearances in all competitions last season and signed a four-year deal in northern France.
Another wonderkid still to realise his full potential was also on the move with Colombian playmaker Juan Quintero swapping Porto for Rennes on a season-long loan.
Quintero, 22, played for Colombia at the last World Cup but has struggled to nail down a place in Porto’s first XI since moving to Portugal in 2013.
— Stade Rennais F.C. (@staderennais) August 31, 2015