Tuesday 1 September 2015 12:58, UK
David de Gea's move to Real Madrid looks to be off after La Liga told Sky Sports News HQ they did not receive any paperwork from the Spanish club over the transfer.
It was initially reported the deal had stalled after documents were received late - 28 minutes after the Spanish transfer deadline at midnight on Monday - only for Sky Sports to then learn that the Spanish league's governing body had not received anything from Real confirming De Gea had been added to their squad.
United have told Sky Sports News HQ they signed and sent all relevant documentation on time and that they have the evidence to prove it. They are also insistent Real have admitted they were at fault, but while both clubs are likely to appeal to FIFA in a bid to push the deal through, La Liga say they would be unlikely to back Real in their appeal which would therefore almost certainly fail.
Real and United have agreed a fee of £29m for De Gea, in a deal which included goalkeeper Keylor Navas going to Old Trafford in exchange for the Spain international - but if the deal is not allowed to go through, Navas will not be moving to England.
United are thought to be relaxed about the prospect of De Gea staying in Manchester, particularly as he is still on the same money after rejecting the offer of a new contract.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague told Sky Sports News HQ: "La Liga has confirmed that the documents have not reached them on time and, as it stands, the transfer is not going to take place.
"Last night, the head of the league went on national radio and spoke. He said of course they can appeal but he didn't think there was any way that La Liga would change their mind.
"Everything was done and everyone was waiting. David de Gea was at his girlfriend's house in Madrid, [Real Madrid president] Florentino Perez was at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"Navas was there too and was waiting to pass a medical, and everything was signed and sent to Manchester.
"But the information is that the documentation didn't come back from Manchester United on time.
"Reports say the De Gea paperwork came in at one minute past midnight in Spain and therefore did not reach La Liga on time, so the transfer is not going to happen.
"There is no precedent for this. Three years ago, Fabio Coentrao could not go to Manchester United for the exact same reason, and Real asked the league if they could have five more minutes, and the league said 'no'.
"Nobody expects an extension, so everyone is reporting that the deal has not gone through."
Balague suggested the price of the deal - and the form of fan favourite Navas - could have contributed to Real leaving it late.
"Real Madrid decided to leave it until the last minute. Why? Partly because they felt they could bring the price down.
"Manchester United were saying the deal was 40 million euros including Keylor Navas. All summer, Real Madrid were saying they would never pay 40m euros. They started leaking to the press that the agreement was 35m euros - minus 15m for Navas, so it was quite a cheap deal.
"Don't forget that Navas had a great pre-season; there was a poll that said 80 per cent of fans didn't want De Gea. I wonder if that had anything to do with the fact Real left it late."
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