David De Gea Could Be Real Madrid's New Galáctico | inside World Soccer

David De Gea became one of the world's most expensive goalkeepers after an £18 million transfer from Atlético Madrid to Manchester United in 2011.

He was being heralded as the replacement for Edwin van der Sar. United underwent a lot of changes – in the goalkeeping position – after the departure of Peter Schmeichel. It took them several years to find a stable goalkeeper until it arrived in the form of van der Sar.

His performances are a major reason towards Manchester United given odds of 4/9 – by Betfair in the latest 2015 Premier League odds – for a top four finish this season.

A string of great performances in the Premier League this season has seen De Gea considered as the best keeper in England right now.

The magnitude of attention on the 24-year-old has been so intense that he is now subject to intense transfer rumours linking him with a return to Spain.

A number of situations have fallen in place – at exactly the right moment – for De Gea to be considered as being on the verge of a Manchester United exit.

The first reason will be the contractual situation of the player. United are certainly not in a position of strength, as the player has only 18 months left on his contract.

The balance will only tilt in favour of De Gea as the season comes to an end.

It is looking highly unlikely that the 24-year-old is prepared to extend his contract midway through the season.

Louis van Gaal recently admitted that it was certainly conceivable thatDe Gea could leave for a Spanish club, but he "hoped" that the player would sign on the dotted line.

United are in the same position as van Gaal, as they can only hope that the player signs the deal.

United's decision to sign Víctor Valdés, who is nowhere near enough the form shown by De Gea this season, on a free transfer is concrete proof that the club are bracing themselves for the exit of their number one goalkeeper.

Valdés, as a former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper, is unlikely to be satisfied with a place on the bench should be regain his full fitness.

At the age of 33, he is in what is considered as the prime age for a goalkeeper. However, there remain numerous concerns about the former Barcelona star and least of all is his ability to settle in the Premier League.

Valdés has always had the "freak error" within him and it was one of the main reasons for being unable to usurp Iker Casillas from the number one position for Spain.

Despite being a regular for Barcelona since his first-team debut in 2002, Valdés has featured in only 20 appearances for Spain.

He is a top goalkeeper, but no longer the absolute best that Manchester United need.

Spanish football is no stranger towards having the top players concentrated within Barcelona and Real Madrid.

De Gea will see this as a great opportunity to play along with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and to feature regularly against Lionel Messi.

Apart from this draw, the chance to return to his hometown will also be a major pulling factor.

At this moment, United seem a couple of years away from being the dominant force that they once were.

The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea could dominate English football in the next couple of years with their settled and strong squads.

United are continuing to build and it is also highly likely that van Gaal may not be a part of it should the poor and inconsistent form continue.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, are on an incredible high after having just amassed three trophies in 2014. They are looking on course for league title success this season.

Betfair places Madrid at 4/11 to win the Spanish league title in the 2014-15 season whereas their arch rivals Barcelona are given odds of 9/4. Reigning champions Atlético Madrid are a distant 20/1.

The season has just gone past the halfway mark and Madrid have a one-point advantage over Barcelona. They can extend this lead with a win against Sevilla on Tuesday.

De Gea is held in high regards at Madrid and he could be the eventual replacement for Iker Casillas.

After facing an uncertain future only last season, Casillas has once again established himself as the number one at Madrid. However, his performances have been far from his best.

His recent admission that he may consider the MLS as a potential option has intensified rumours that this may be his last season at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Casillas has been a one club man, but he does not appear to have regained the confidence that he lost after losing his place under José Mourinho.

Casillas' current deal expires in the summer of 2017, but he has revealed in the past that Madrid will not be stopping him should he wish to leave the club.

Since it is highly unlikely that Manchester United will allow De Gea to leave on a free transfer, the situation may be resolved in the summer.

Given his current form, the Spaniard could easily command a transfer fee in excess of £25 million.

This may seem as excessive figure for a goalkeeper, but at just 24 years of age, he could go on to become the next Gianluigi Buffon.

Don't forget to join us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!