The Red Devils are reluctant to allow a key player to leave the club, but if forced to sell they are ready to take a hard stance and ensure they are well compensated. According to the Independent, United will demand Toni Kroos as part of any deal that takes De Gea to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 26-year-old Spain international was close to moving to the Spanish capital in the summer of 2015, but it collapsed in the final moments. He eventually signed a new deal to remain at Old Trafford, which now gives United the upper hand in negotiations.
Real are keen to take De Gea back to his homeland this summer, but face an uphill task in convincing the Premier League giants to part with their player of the year for the past three seasons. United do not need the funds and will not be forced to sell but if the player is insistent on leaving for pastures new, they will demand the Germany international be part of the deal.
Jose Mourinho is looking for a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who could leave the club at the end of the season and feels Kroos is the perfect candidate to provide balance to the United midfield. The former Bayern Munich midfielder is a vital member of Zinedine Zidane's squad and has been vital for Real this season as they look to win the La Liga title for the first time since the 2011/12 campaign.
De Gea's future at United has been thrown into doubt in recent days after he was dropped from the squad for the 3-0 win over Sunderland. Jose Mourinho indicated that it was a minor injury, but according to the Sun, it was owing to a fallout between the two after the Portuguese manager criticised the Spaniard's recent performances.
Mourinho addressed the transfer speculation ahead of United's Europa League game against Anderlecht on Thursday and made it clear that the players should focus on matters on the pitch and wait until the summer to think about their future.
The 20-time English champions are not sitting idle and have reportedly identified Serie A stars Samir Handanovic and Gianluigi Donnarumma of Inter Milan and AC Milan respectively as potential replacements for the Spanish stopper.