Guillem Balague expects the David de Gea transfer saga to go to the final hours of the transfer window, but says he will join Real Madrid this summer.
The goalkeeper has been left out of Manchester United's first two matches of the Premier League season after a summer of speculation surrounding a move to the Bernabeu, with Louis van Gaal saying he is not in the right frame of mind to play.
Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez signed Kiko Casilla from Espanyol in July to compete with Keylor Navas for the goalkeeper's jersey, but Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Balague believes both clubs are posturing ahead of a last-minute deal for De Gea.
"He never ever said he did not want to play, but he understands it is part of the strategy at the moment," he told Sky Sports’ La Liga Weekly Podcast.
"Manchester United are saying 'look, he doesn't want to play' so that when he goes, they can always say he's a guy that doesn't want to play for us.
It's normal that everything will go to the wire, to the last few hours and days of the transfer windows but I think, the way it looks, De Gea will go to Real Madrid.
"He understands as well that Real Madrid are doing their part of the strategy by saying 'with Kiko Casilla and Keylor Navas, we have enough'. Yeah, right...
"Jorge Mendes, the agent of De Gea, has told him not to worry and the money will come from Real Madrid, but he has to understand that Manchester United are letting go of a guy who has been their best player for two years now and somebody who would help them with a challenge for the title this year.
"It's normal that everything will go to the wire, to the last few hours and days of the transfer window but I think, the way it looks, De Gea will go to Real Madrid."
Balague says Real Madrid did not sign Casilla as a first-choice goalkeeper and says De Gea remains their number one target.
Iker Casillas was sold to Porto earlier this summer and Balague says Navas will also move on, hinting that Van Gaal may be interested in taking him to Manchester United.
"Casilla will be a number two and I think Navas will be sold,” he added.
"Interestingly enough, in 2014 when Manchester United presented a renewal offer to De Gea that he would have accepted, Van Gaal stopped it because he wasn't convinced by him as a goalkeeper.
"Funnily enough, he wanted Keylor Navas or somebody like that. He is at Real Madrid now and may be surplus, so who knows?
"Certainly the plan is that Casilla will be the number two and Navas will be sold, but I'm not sure how easy that will be in the last few hours of the transfer market."