Florentino continues blame game as Joaquín loves life back at Betis

Nobody cares about the David de Gea situation anymore, says Tim Stannard, but we should all rejoice at the return of an entertaining figure to Estadio Benito Villamarín... 

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As much as the David de Gea kerfuffle gave the watching world an enormous chuckle in a pretty bleak week of news, there was one enormous downside to the non-transfer. That unfortunate ripple in the space-time continuum that is the ‘is he staying?’ and ‘is he going?’ stories are going to drag on now for five months in the best-case scenario, or until the end of the goalkeeper’s contract which is due to run down next summer.

Heck, by that time De Gea’s former club, Atlético Madrid, might be double La Liga and Champions League winners, with Real Madrid being a busted flush and less attractive option for a freebie move. Right?

Bite back

Marca have kicked off this speculation in a story that saved the paper’s sales during the international fortnight about the battle to win De Gea's soul, aka ‘Which move will pay Jorge Mendes more?’.

LLL is guessing a transfer renewal rather than a free move, which explains why Marca have touted the story this week that the agent is negotiating with Manchester United so that the two parties can patch things up and De Gea can sign another big deal.

The other job for the minions of Mordor was to spin the notion that the move breakdown was all the Premier League club's fault. De Gea and Keylor Navas are the latest victims of United ‘paperwork’, who've cited problems with the potential and real moves of Fabio Coentrao and Ander Herrera in the past.

Florentino Pérez was also out on Spanish media on Thursday night to put the blame firmly in United’s court by saying the club weren't experienced at such last-minute deals, with the De Gea move apparently only gaining traction on deadline day. To be fair, Florentino might be quite right, but by now no one particularly cares. The whole thing feels like a move that both clubs felt obliged to make but didn’t really want, like an arranged marriage between Donald Trump and a destitute, desperate and very Mexican Salma Hayek.

Bash at Betis


The one city in Spain where the transfer window was celebrated with a whoop and an enormous amount of beer was Seville, where Betis fans celebrated the return of the immensely brilliant concept that is Joaquín.

The wondrous winger has been on a nine-year odyssey at Valencia, Málaga and Fiorentina, having been tearfully pushed out the door by the infamous former Betis president – and possible current owner (long story) – Manuel Ruiz de Lopera in 2006.

Twenty-thousand supporters turned up at the stadium to welcome Joaquín back to the club where he took his first and arguably best footballing steps, and the 34-year-old declared that “he never really left”. LLL is now suspecting that Real Madrid and the Transfer Matching System might be at play here again.

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