David de Gea’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid broke down at the last minute due to the Premier League club management’s “lack of experience”, Real president Florentino Perez claimed on Friday.

And although Real have been chasing the goalkeeper for more than a year as a long-term replacement for Iker Casillas, Perez refused to confirm they would make a second move for de Gea when the transfer window reopens in January.

Madrid seemed set to conclude the long-running transfer saga late on Monday’s deadline day with a deal worth between 30 million ($33.9 million) and 40 million euros and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas joining United.

But Spanish league sources confirmed the player had not been registered and Madrid admitted they had sent the required documentation after the window closed at midnight local time (2200 GMT).

Madrid had accused United of sending the documents after the Spanish deadline had passed, but the English club laid the blame at Madrid’s door and said they were “delighted” by the outcome.

The Madrid club have come in for ridicule in the Spanish press, but Perez, speaking on Cadena Ser radio, denied it was their fault.

“I don’t want to pin the blame on anyone, but we cannot understand how it could take eight hours (to return the papers)” he said. 

“I don’t believe it was done with any bad intention, they just lack experience. The same thing happened over the transfer of (Fabio) Coentrao,” he added, referring to a deal to take the Portuguese defender to United which fell through two years ago. “They have a new management team and they are lacking experience.”

As a result, de Gea, 24, is forced to remain at Old Trafford, even though he has been in conflict with manager Louis van Gaal over his desire to move.

“He’s very upset because he was very keen on the idea of coming here,” Perez said.

But he refused to be drawn on whether the club would go back for him in January. “I really have no idea what will happen now,.” Perez said. “It’s too soon to talk about what the future holds.”

In response to the claims from Spain, United once again insisted they weren’t to blame for the deal collapsing and suggested Perez’s comments were designed to mask Madrid’s own failings.

“The facts speak for themselves. The FA are prepared to back our case that documents were in on time; Real seem intent to move the focus away from their own clumsiness this summer,” a United spokesman said.

“We all like to blame others but if you let one slip through your fingers into the back of the net, then ultimately the culpability is yours.” – Agence France-Presse

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