David De Gea has reportedly done what Manchester United fans have been dreading - told the club he wants to join Real Madrid.
The goalkeeper has been weighing up the pros and cons of a switch to the Spanish giants and according to Goal.com, has reached a decision that will pave the way for his exit from Old Trafford.
The Spain international was in scintillating form last season, scooping the club's player of the year award and being widely recognised as the best stopper in the Premier League.
Whilst Manchester United want to keep him - after the final game of the season manager Louis van Gaal said "he will not leave us easily" - De Gea has just a year to run on his contract, making the club's position weak. The pull of a return to Madrid is also strong for the player, particularly considering it his girlfriend's residence.
Old Trafford officials must now decide whether to hold him until his contract expires next summer or collect a transfer fee that would recoup some or if not all of the £17.8m they paid Atletico Madrid in 2011. United could also use De Gea's sale to engineer a deal for one of Real Madrid's players, with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United have Victor Valdes in reserve but should De Gea depart, a replacement would be sought. Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Chelsea's Petr Cech have been linked with the former expressing a desire to play in the Champions League over the weekend.
Independent News Service