Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that it was David de Gea's decision not to play for the Red Devils in their opening day clash against Tottenham Hotspur following a meeting between the manager, the goalkeeping coach and the player.
The Spanish international goalkeeper was dropped by the Dutch manager for their Premier League opener citing a lack of focus due to the speculation surrounding his future.
The former Atletico Madrid star has been linked with a move with city rivals Real Madrid throughout the summer, and according to Spanish daily ABC, the 10-time European champions have handed United an ultimatum with a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
Van Gaal has been irked with the ongoing saga and admitted that it is affecting the entire team and according to Spanish publication AS, he has instructed the Old Trafford hierarchy to sanction the move.
The former Bayern Munich manager has admitted that it was the Spanish international who turned down the chance to be part of the team that played Spurs, while insisting that he had the full support of his staff in coming to his decision.
"We talked with him [De Gea] and he fully agreed with our decision," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"I have one assistant coach and another assistant coach so we speak about that kind of thing together. We have a goalkeeping coach, Frans Hoek, and I'm not doing everything alone."
"Frans Hoek ... he has a meeting with David de Gea and he asked him: 'Do you want to play?'" The Spaniard's response to that question was a "no," the manager said.
The 20-time English champions have a host of options between the sticks, with Anders Lindegaard, Victor Valdes, Sam Johnstone and Sergio Romero available to the manager. The former two are expected to be allowed to leave the club, while the latter two will be part of the squad on Friday night (14 July), when United take on Aston Villa.
Van Gaal has reiterated his opinion on De Gea's form, which he feels is not at the same level as last season, when he was the Red Devils' player of the season.
"Then I have to take the decision. It is a process. We had been observing him in preparation and he was not so good. He was not the same David De Gea as before. He was my best player last season. According to the fans, he was the best of the last two years," he explained, as quoted by the Daily Mail.