David De Gea is back on Real Madrid's radar
AFTER Iker Casillas’ horror show for Real Madrid in Tuesday night’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to German side Schalke at the Bernabeu, there is every reason for Manchester United to be concerned that the Spanish giants will step up their hunt for David de Gea.
The Spanish number one appeared to age right in front of our eyes as he was at least partially culpable for three of the Germans’ goals in the last 16 tie.
Real are already determined to bring David de Gea back to his homeland and Casillas’ performance can only add urgency to their pursuit.
United remain confident that they can convince their goalkeeper to sign a new long-term deal at Old Trafford. But that will not deter the covetous glances from Madrid.
The 24-year-old is out of contract at the end of next season - and the longer his future remains unresolved, the more nervous United’s hierarchy will become.
There have been suggestions in Spain that Real would be willing to wait to sign De Gea - believing Casillas has at least another year in him at the highest level. But that didn’t appear to be the case on Tuesday, when the veteran keeper’s indecisiveness contributed to Schalke’s shock win.
Real still progressed to the quarter finals with a 5-4 aggregate victory, but concerns over their No1 persist.
Former United captain Roy Keane, watching on at the Bernabeu in his role as TV pundit, highlighted Casillas’ troubles.
“We say Schalke have done well – the keeper has thrown the first three in,” the former United captain told ITV. “If you want to win the big prizes you need to have a top goalkeeper or certainly a goalkeeper in form.
“And on tonight’s performance they’ll be in trouble in the quarters and semis.
“It’s not just tonight, I think his form has been criticised and you can’t just keep selecting a player on what he’s done in the past. On tonight’s performance he’s certainly not good enough.”
De Gea is the man Real have identified to succeed Casillas. The question is how long they will wait to make their move.
Meanwhile, Ashley Young (left) has dealt a fresh blow to Louis van Gaal’s hopes of securing Champions League football, with the winger an injury doubt for Sunday’s crunch clash with Tottenham.
Young suffered a knock during Manchester United’s 2-1 FA Cup quarter final defeat to Arsenal on Monday and left Old Trafford in visible discomfort.
The 29-year-old will be assessed at United’s Carrington training complex this week to determine the extent of the damage that left him hobbling on his way out of the ground.
The player himself was unsure if he would be able to recover in time to face Spurs in what is a six-pointer in the race for the top four.
Van Gaal will be desperate to have Young involved after his resurgence in form this season.
Young has been one of the most improved players at United this season.
The former England international has been one of United’s most improved players under their Dutch manager, operating as both a wingback and an orthodox wide man.
He scored the 89th-minute winner against Newcastle last week and is expected to be handed a new long-term contract.