Louis Van Gaal claimed that Manchester United are powerless in their attempts to persuade David de Gea to extend his Old Trafford contract after revealing the Spain goalkeeper has been offered "a lot of money" to pledge his future to the club.
De Gea, the only United player to be short-listed for the PFA Player of the Year award, has resisted attempts by the club to tie him to a new deal to replace his current contract, which expires in June 2016.
With Real Madrid having identified the former Atletico Madrid No 1 as their priority target to replace long-serving club captain Iker Casillas, United are bracing themselves for the European champions to make a summer move for the 24-year-old, who is understood to have been offered in the region of £200,000 a week to stay at United.
Van Gaal accepts that clubs are now at the whim of players and that all of the power is with De Gea.
"It takes a long time now," said the United manager when asked about efforts to secure De Gea to a new contract. "It can always happen, but I am not the boss. The player is the boss and he can say yes or no.
"I want him to stay, but you will have to ask David de Gea, not me. He has to sign. We have offered him a lot of money."
With Casillas expected to remain at Real for at least one more season, De Gea could avoid a battle, on and off the pitch, in Madrid by seeing out his United contract and moving on a free transfer next summer.
United, however, are expected to resist that scenario, with De Gea likely to be sold this summer if he makes it clear that he will not sign a new deal before next season.