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United demand record fee for David de Gea








Manchester United are prepared to play hardball with Real Madrid in their pursuit of David de Gea, and will only allow their prized asset to leave if the Spanish giants offer a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

It is understood United remain committed to battling to convince De Gea to stay, despite the 24-year-old's desire to return to Madrid.

The Reds would even prefer the Spaniard remained next season - and risk losing him for nothing when his contract expires in 12 months' time - than letting De Gea go for a knockdown price.

Gianluigi Buffon's £32.6m move from Parma to Juventus in 2001 remains the highest transfer fee paid for a goalkeeper.


Although the De Gea saga could drag on into United's pre-season, the Cheshire house he has been renting is up for sale.

United recognise the huge value of De Gea, having almost single-handedly ensured manager Louis van Gaal's side achieved their top four status in the Premier League last season.

While United have made contact with Real over the signing of central defender Sergio Ramos, they are, however, reluctant to let De Gea go on the cheap.

Reports from Spain in recent months have unsettled De Gea, who is believed to have told United in January he would wait to see if the club finished in the top four before signing a new deal.

De Gea has been offered a deal to make him the best-paid goalkeeper in world football.

Should United deny De Gea a move to Real it could have ramifications on the 'keeper's international career.

Although Real Madrid want to replace Iker Casillas with De Gea, the United man is still his deputy in the national side and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's loyalty to the faltering Casillas has been unwavering.

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie has revealed that his need for playing time ahead of Euro 2016 will decide whether he stays at United this summer.

Van Persie endured a disappointing campaign last season, scoring 10 goals in 29 appearances.

An ankle injury meant the Dutchman started just one of United's final 13 games.

His fitness and form has raised doubts about his long-term future at United.

Van Gaal is expected to search for a striker this summer as a replacement for Radamel Falcao, who has returned to Monaco following his loan spell.

Van Persie, who will turn 32 before the start of next season and has a year left on his contract, has been linked with moves to Juventus, Lazio and Galatasaray.

And the former Arsenal man, who arrived at Old Trafford in a £24m deal in 2012, has hinted he will seek assurances from Van Gaal before deciding where his future lies.

He said: "When I signed for United, I knew these kind of (reports) would appear.

"Next year is the European Championship. That tournament is going to play a big role in the choice I will make.

"I have to be in my best form. But most important is the wish of my wife and children.

"Whatever I do Bouchra, Shaqueel and Dina Layla are the highest of my priorities. They have to be happy."