Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is destined to move to Real Madrid according to Craig Bellamy, who believes the Spaniard's proposed switch to Los Blancos is a matter of when, not if.

De Gea was extremely close to joining Real in the summer of 2015 but his move back to the Spanish capital failed to materialise due to the La Liga giants' failure to submit the relevant paperwork before the transfer deadline. Spain's first-choice stopper went on to sign a new deal at Old Trafford and has since developed into arguably the best goalkeeper in world football, though rumours of a move to the Santiago Bernabeu have never fully subsided.

Zinedine Zidane's side have also been credited [The Sun] with an interest in Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois, who recently fuelled speculation over a move to Los Merengues by admitting his "heart lies in Madrid". But Bellamy thinks it is only a matter of time before Real sign De Gea, a player he sees as crucial to the rebuilding process that is likely to begin this summer.

"He is the real deal and I have always felt that Real Madrid have been looking for him to be their No 1 for a number of years," Bellamy said on Sky Sports' The Debate. "And it is just a matter of time before they get him.

"Usually every top club has a rebuild and maybe it has been a little bit more overdue with Madrid because of the success of they have had in the Champions League. But I see De Gea being a huge part of that and Real Madrid do spend money, they always have done, they have been quiet over the last few years.

"So probably due to the fact that it will take a huge fee to get him and prise him away from Man Utd, I would be shocked if he did not go."

De Gea may well decide to seek a move to Real in the coming seasons if United fail to topple runaway league leaders Manchester City, but his immediate focus currently rests on his side's trip to face struggling Newcastle United, who could find themselves ensconced in the bottom three if they suffer defeat on Sunday (11 February).

David de Gea
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