Manchester United face a new fight to keep David de Gea following Zinedine Zidane’s return as Real Madrid boss.
Zidane is a big admirer of the Spain keeper, and he will make him a key target as he sets about rebuilding the deposed European champions, whose attempt to win the Champions League for a fourth season running was ended this month with a shock home loss to Dutch side Ajax in the last 16.
Madrid president Florentino Perez has promised Zidane a mountain of cash in the summer to back up the Frenchman’s plans to revitalise a club where he won the Champions League in every one of his three seasons in charge, and also took the 2016-17 La Liga title.
And around £75million of it has been reserved for attempting to entice 28-year-old De Gea, whose contract with United runs out next summer, back to his hometown.
Old Trafford bosses are currently in talks with the player over a new £350,000-a-week deal having triggered their option to extend his present contract until 2020 and are confident that he will sign eventually, but news of Madrid’s renewed interest will spook them.
Madrid only signed Chelsea No.1 Thibaut Courtois for £35m last summer, but it is believed Zidane — back in the Bernabeu hot-seat less than a year after quitting, following the failures of successors Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari — is not convinced by the Belgian stopper.
Meanwhile, United were once again well represented in midweek as they continued to monitor two of Benfica’s rising stars.
Midfielder Joao Felix, 19, and 21-year-old defender Ruben Dias are in their sights and were watched during the Lisbon club’s 3-0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16 of the Europa League.
Dias played the whole game, which went into extra time, while Felix came on as a second-half substitute.