Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has reportedly informed the club of his desire to join long-time admirers Real Madrid this summer.

According to Goal, the Red Devils are resigned to losing the Spanish player, but will have to make a decision on whether to sell him this summer or hold him to the final year of his contract and lose him for free next year.

The report claims that the former Atletico Madrid stopper is keen to return to his hometown after spending four years in Manchester, and the lure of playing for Real is too good an opportunity to turn down.

Louis van Gaal has admitted that he was unsure of the Spaniard's talent when he took over as manager at the beginning of last season, but was thoroughly impressed with him by the end of the campaign.

The Dutchman is reluctant to lose United's player of the season, but is aware that the keeper holds the aces with just one year remaining on his current deal.

United have offered De Gea a lucrative new deal to remain at Old Trafford, which will make him the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world, but it is believed that Real have won the race with the keeper ready to return to Spain.

Moreover, according to the Mirror, the Spanish capital club's president Florentino Perez is reportedly set to meet the Spanish international's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the details of the move with Real said to be planning a £15m ($23m) move for the stopper.

It is believed that United will reject the offer, which would represent a loss on the £17.8m they paid Atletico in 2011. The Red Devils will be looking at a fee in the region of £25m, despite De Gea having just one year remaining on his current deal.

Van Gaal is already planning for life without the Spaniard, and has been linked with various goalkeepers. However, the report claims that Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillisen is the manager's first choice to replace the outgoing De Gea at Old Trafford.