Manchester United's attempts to keep David De Gea out of the clutches of Real Madrid may suffer a decisive twist after reports in Spain on 29 April claimed the Champions League holders – and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid – are could be banned from all transfer activity for the next two windows for alleged "irregularities in the signing of minors".
Carlo Ancelotti's side have reportedly earmarked the signing of the Spainish goalkeeper as one of the top priorities to replace the under scrutiny Iker Casillas, with doubts over whether they will try to secure his services this summer or in 2016 when De Gea's contract at Old Trafford expires.
While the Real Madrid boss recently confirmed they are open to signing a goalkeeper, United manager Louis van Gaal extended his concerns over De Gea earlier in April, leaving his future at Old Trafford up in the air after revealing the club had offered the 'keeper a massive deal to renew his current contract.
"We have offered him a lot of money. It takes a long time now. So it can always happen. I want him to stay but I am not the boss. The player is the boss, he can say yes or no. You will have to ask David De Gea not me. He has to sign," Van Gaal said.
But the recent reports in Spain claiming Real Madrid face a ban for the upcoming summer transfer window and the January transfer window in 2016 may prompt a decisive turnaround of the situation.
Should the news be true, it could see Real Madrid unable to sign De Gea this summer but may also see them wait until the following one to secure his services as a free agent.
However, there is the likely possibility that even if Los Blancos do not receive a ban, they will appeal to postpone the suspension in the same way Barcelona did.
The Catalans were handed the same sanction in 2014 but following an appeal to Fifa, they managed to delay the embargo and were able to signed Luis Suarez, Thomas Vermaelen, Jeremy Mathieu, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo, serving the ban in the last January transfer window and in the upcoming summer window.
If that is the case, Real Madrid are expected to try to sign De Gea this summer rather than waiting for the next one when they could be serving a ban.
Meanwhile, later on 29 April, Real Madrid issued an official statement to deny any such ban and said the report is "absolutely false" and that the club have not violated any rules.