Perez distances Real from De Gea move, backs goalkeepers
BARCELONA, June 20 (Reuters) - Real Madrid turned down the opportunity to sign goalkeeper David de Gea from Manchester United last summer, club president Florentino Perez said on Tuesday while playing down the possibility of bidding for the Spain international again.
Madrid were on the verge of bringing former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper De Gea back to Spain in 2015 but the move, which included sending Real custodian Keylor Navas to United as a makeweight, was derailed as the clubs failed to close the deal before the transfer window closed.
Costa Rica goalkeeper Navas was criticised at several points last season for unconvincing displays which cost Real points leading to reports in the Spanish media that the club would make another move for De Gea.
Navas's form improved towards the end of the campaign, however, as his side won the double of the La Liga title and the Champions League.
Perez said Madrid were not looking to replace Navas or deputy Kiko Casilla.
"Two years ago we had the disaster of the late fax, they (United) sent it two minutes late and that was it," Perez said in an interview with Spanish daily Marca on Tuesday, the day after earning a third consecutive mandate with Real.
"Last year we had the chance to sign him but we didn't take it and now we don't have any agreement with Manchester United to sign him. The truth is we have great goalkeepers."
Real were unable to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window due to a transfer ban for illegally signing minors but since the sanction was lifted, they have been linked with a raft of players like France forward Kylian Mbappe and AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The future of all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow forwards Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez has, however, been thrown into doubt, although Perez said Real has not started conducting their business yet.
The construction magnate, however, did confirm Real had signed defender Theo Hernandez from local rivals Atletico, even though the move has not yet been made official.
"In the days since the Champions League final no-one has offered us anything for any player and everything that has come out in the media is not true, apart from the case of Theo, which was done before," he added. (Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)