London - Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has criticised the club for their handling of David de Gea's contract situation and advised them to sign Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris if the Spaniard leaves for Real Madrid.
Manager Louis Van Gaal dropped De Gea from United's Premier League opener against Spurs and questioned the 24-year-old's focus after a summer of speculation over his future.
Real Madrid are interested in taking the Spain international to the Bernabeu, but United are refusing to do business unless the Spanish giants part with defender Sergio Ramos.
Van Gaal was adamant on Saturday that he wanted to keep de Gea at Old Trafford but Schmeichel says the goalkeeper should be released if that's what he wants.
"I'd really like De Gea to stay," the 51-year-old Dane told talkSPORT, adding, "but if he wants to go, let him go and let Manchester United move on."
"It's sad that it's dragged into the season."
Schmeichel, who won five Premier League titles in his eight-year spell at Old Trafford, said United would find a ready-made replacement in Tottenham captain Lloris.
"If De Gea goes I would love Lloris to come to Manchester United. He has exactly the style of play and he is proven in the Premier League," he said.