We can­not af­ford to let De Gea leave for Real, warns Her­rera

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By James Ducker

Manch­ester United face Real Madrid in Santa Clara to­day with An­der Her­rera ad­mit­ting it is im­per­a­tive they keep goal­keeper David De Gea out of the clutches of the Span­ish giants.

With Real ex­pected to make a move for De Gea be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes on Aug 31, United face a fight to re­tain the £60mil­lion-rated Spa­niard.

United be­lieve they are bet­ter po­si­tioned to re­sist Real’s ad­vances than two years ago, when a deal col­lapsed amid much ac­ri­mony, be­cause De Gea has two years left on his con­tract as op­posed to one in 2015.

But Real know De Gea would like to re­turn to his home city and join the reign­ing Euro­pean and Span­ish cham­pi­ons. The sit­u­a­tion will be lin­ger­ing in the back­ground when the teams meet at the Levi’s Sta­dium in the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup this evening.

Tense re­la­tions be­tween the clubs were not helped by the ne­go­ti­a­tions over Al­varo Mo­rata, with Real de­mand­ing £79 mil­lion for the Spain striker be­fore United pulled out and signed Romelu Lukaku in­stead.

Real then agreed to sell Mo­rata to Chelsea for £58 mil­lion to un­der­line how they were play­ing hard­ball over the striker with an eye on De Gea.

Her­rera is close to De Gea and says it is vi­tal United keep hold of his com­pa­triot. “He is a goal­keeper who can give you points,” the mid­fielder said. “That is very im­por­tant. I want to keep him here, to play with him. He’s a fan­tas­tic keeper and also my friend, and you can see he’s very fo­cused on Manch­ester United. If you lose the top three in any po­si­tion, like David is, like [Paul] Pogba is, like [Romelu] Lukaku is, like Mar­cus [Rash­ford] can be, we don’t want to lose them, we want to keep them, and David is in the top three. For me, he’s the best in the world, so I want to keep him here at United.”

Lukaku un­der­lined his abil­ity with a stun­ning fin­ish in the 2-0 win over Manch­ester City in Hous­ton on Fri­day and Her­rera has been im­pressed with what he has seen so far from the Bel­gium striker.

“He’s a top player,” Her­rera said. “The way he plays for the team is the thing I like most about him, be­cause it’s fan­tas­tic the way he comes to the mid­field to help when the ball is there. When they [op­po­nents] have the ball for­ward, he’s al­ways think­ing how to help the team, in terms of de­fen­sive work, so we are so lucky to have him, and if he scores, then even bet­ter. Time will tell [if he is the dif­fer­ence in the ti­tle race].”

Po­si­tional sense: David De Gea would like to re­turn to his home city of Madrid

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