David De Gea's Manchester United fate lies with agent Jorge Mendes
Media reports in England suggest Manchester United have slapped a £66 million ($85m) valuation on David De Gea. And if, say, Real Madrid wanted to include Alvaro Morata in part-exchange, they'd be willing to value the Spanish striker at £43m ($55m), meaning Morata plus $30m would get you De Gea.
At first glance, it's all very reasonable. It's a huge fee in goalkeeper terms (the record is still the £32m Juventus paid for Gigi Buffon way back in 2001) but De Gea is still just 26 years old. If you get a decade of service out of him and his level doesn't drop, it's not a bad deal for Madrid. United, on the other hand, would be getting a big whack of cash or a somewhat lesser whack plus Morata, who is 24, can play as a first or second striker, has plenty of Champions League and big club experience and was hugely prolific in a limited role last year.
De Gea is from Madrid and has reportedly told Jose Mourinho he'd like to play for Real Madrid "at some point." So it's all very logical, yes?
What's less logical in all this is the fact that the guy who represents De Gea is also the same guy who represents Mourinho. Yes, super-agent Jorge Mendes is on both sides of this negotiation. He gets the task of making sure everybody is happy come August 31: De Gea, Mourinho, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
People seem to be shocked by the power of agents and middlemen -- and rightly so. But it's worth remembering that every shred of power these people enjoy comes from others. They are surrounded by, for lack of a better word, enablers. If you don't like how this ends up, don't blame Mendes. Blame the clubs and the players for tolerating such conflicts of interest.
To read more of Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week, click here.