Real Madrid have reportedly decided to call a halt to their long-running pursuit of David de Gea. The Manchester United goalkeeper, formerly of Atletico, has been repeatedly linked with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu over recent years and was set to complete a £29m ($41.7m) deadline-day transfer last summer with Keylor Navas moving in the opposite direction.
That high-profile deal eventually collapsed in farcical fashion, however, after the necessary paperwork was not submitted to Fifa in time. De Gea subsequently renewed his commitment to United by agreeing terms on a new four-year contract at Old Trafford, while Real's disappointment at not landing a key target has been considerably softened by the excellent form of their current No1.
Navas has been simply superb during the 2015-16 season to date, keeping 16 clean sheets from 34 appearances in all competitions and breaking records for consecutive shutouts in both La Liga and Champions League competition. His latest heroics included several fine saves and a third penalty stop of the year in a 4-0 win over Sevilla on 20 March and with the Costa Rica international in such fine fettle, Real appear to have no need for any significant upgrade.
According to Marca, an anonymous Real boardroom source told German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA): "Keylor Navas is a fans' favourite and his performances have been top-drawer. There is no need to search for another goalkeeper, and that includes De Gea."
Real's expected withdrawal from the race could act as potential encouragement to Paris Saint-Germain. Reports from The Mirror last week suggested that the big-spending French champions were ready to upgrade their current 'keeping options as they seek to transfer their domestic dominance on to the European stage and were willing to spend £30m to bring De Gea to the Parc des Princes.
United will be eager to avoid another goalkeeping saga this summer. In addition to De Gea's proposed move back to his native Spain in 2015, Victor Valdes was ostracised after a public falling out with manager Louis van Gaal. The 34-year-old was quickly replaced as deputy by the unconvincing Sergio Romero and was later loaned to Standard Liege, where he recently lifted the Belgian Cup following a 2-1 win over Club Brugge at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels.