David de Gea

Transfer business in the modern era surprisingly resembles the old barter trade, with all the inefficiencies inherent in doing business the old school way. Documents disappear in the air as it often happens in many a Government office or the processing is simply not done in time despite the market having been open for nearly three months.

In a very long time there has not been a low-key transfer market as the one that closed on Tuesday evening. But alarmingly too, there has not been as big a controversy as the one that has pitted top European giants Manchester United and Real Madrid over the transfer of Spain’s number one goalkeeper David de Gea.

David de Gea thought he had finally sealed his dream move to Real Madrid on Monday, but a farcical mix-up involving transfer documents saw the deal fall flat on its face.

So just what happened? There have been accusations and counter-accusations flowing fast and furious across England and Spain. Who is fooling who?

If Real Madrid are to be believed, Manchester United did not agree to open any negotiations over the federative rights of David de Gea until Monday morning. Real Madrid further claims that, despite the difficulties entailed in carrying out a deal of these characteristics on the final day of registration, they agreed to initiate these talks.

The statement released by Real is basically a litany of girlish whining attempting to explain the cockup and lay the blame at Man United’s door.

But United would have none of that. They laid their facts bare maintaining that Man United did not seek contact from Real Madrid for the sale of de Gea as he is a key member of the squad and the club’s preference was not to sell. Surprisingly, Man United also revealed that no offer was received for de Gea until the final day as the transfer closed in Spain.

The way the transfer business works, a buying club must come and knock on the door of the club that they hope to interest in selling a certain player. If the mother club, in this case the selling club is interested in the deal, they put their price on the player. From there on the dynamics of buying the player are pretty similar to those most Kenyans engage in haggling over the price of an item with a hawker. Once a deal is struck, the business is done.

If Real Madrid wanted de Gea to be part of the Real Madrid squad as much as de Gea wanted to be part of Real Madrid, they would have done their bidding for the player in good time. In addition, with club technocrats being paid well to do stuff for the club, you would have expected them to know that the transfer window was closing earlier in Spain than in England.

Secondly, no transfer is complete until both sets of the contracts are duly signed by all parties and the names of new acquisitions uploaded and lodged - within the transfer period – with the respective football governing bodies in respective countries.

To put plain and simple, the de Gea deal collapsed because, Real despite waiting until the final day to complete a seemingly important deal for them, dragged their feet in the process. I bet they were working with England’s transfer window timings not knowing that they too needed to conclude the deal before the Spanish transfer window slammed shut.

It is for this reason, that despite the deals having been ‘completed’ with seconds to spare in the England transfer window, Real could not register de Gea as their new player as the deal was time-barred. What is so difficult to process that in?

Sometimes the world is not fair. This ego fighting between the two clubs has ruined de Gea’s dream move from United to Real Madrid. Now de Gea has to pick up the pieces and move on. Two weeks ago, he was not in the right frame of mind to play for United, having already started focusing on his career at the Spanish capital. He should be thankful that the international break will afford him that frame of mind to play again at Old Trafford.

How future transfer business between the two clubs for de Gea or even Gareth Bale pans out now is anybody’s guess.

Someone at Real Madrid has succeeded in putting the club and de Gea in one real mess.

-Twitter: @tonyngare