Manchester United’s late attempt to finalise David de Gea’s transfer to Real Madrid ended in chaos and finger-pointing on Monday night when the paperwork was not signed off in time at the end of a hectic and sometimes baffling day of transfer movement that also saw the Old Trafford club make Monaco’s Anthony Martial the most expensive teenager in world football.

De Gea’s paperwork was not filed before the midnight Spanish transfer deadline, with the goalkeeper described as “distraught” about the late twist to a remarkable day in which United also moved out Adnan Januzaj and Javier Hernández. Real were working into the early hours to try to persuade the Spanish authorities to let the deal happen but, whereas there are many examples of transfers being conducted after the deadline in England, stricter rules are applied in La Liga. Real are expected to try again on Tuesday by appealing to Fifa but at 2am in Spain the deal looked as if it had collapsed and there were reports blaming United for purportedly faxing one of the documents too late.

United are adamant they prepared everything with time to spare and that the blame should not be apportioned in their direction. United have a time-stamp on the various faxes, filed through Fifa’s Transfer Matching System to validate it was not their fault and clearly think Real are culpable for waiting so long to arrange a transfer that has been in the offing for several months.

Real, however, insist United are responsible and claim they received a vital fax at 11.59pm, leaving them with no time to submit it to the Liga de Fútbol Profesional. The document is understood to have been forwarded a minute past the deadline and, as such, De Gea was informed that the two clubs would have to abort the £29.3m player-plus-cash exchange involving Keylor Navas that had been agreed during the day.

That deal valued De Gea around £22m after United abandoned their original asking price of £33m in the face of Real’s deliberate negotiating tactic to leave it as late as possible. United had previously maintained they would not sell their goalkeeper and player of the year unless they received a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper – exceeding the £32.6m that Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon in 2001 – but with only hours remaining until the Spanish transfer window closed, Madrid’s offer was considered better than the alternative of De Gea leaving as a free agent next summer.

Real’s tactic now appears to have backfired on them logistically because, even though the two clubs started talking on Monday morning, United were also involved in several other major pieces of business rather than devoting all their attention to one deal.

The most significant of them was the £36m deal for the 19-year-old Martial, with potential add-ons that could eventually take it above £50m, in another demonstration of the club’s extraordinary spending power. Martial is regarded as one of the more exciting young talents in French football, likened by some observers to a young Thierry Henry, but the price has surprised many of his admirers at other clubs. Tottenham had tried to sign him earlier in the summer for less than half of what United have paid and, for all the teenager’s potential, the shift in personnel represents a considerable gamble for his new club given that Wayne Rooney is now the only senior striker in Louis van Gaal’s squad.

Courtesy: theguardian