Louis van Gaal expects David De Gea to remain at Manchester United, despite constant speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.
The Spanish goalkeeper joined the Reds from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011 in a £17.8million deal, and despite a difficult start to life in England, he has now well and truly established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League. But unfortunately for United, his performances have not gone unnoticed in his homeland where Real are keen admirers.
Los Blancos are on the lookout for a long-term replacement for Iker Casillas, who has been at the Bernabeu since 1990. Although the shot-stopper turned 34 earlier this week this is still a good age for a player in his position so there is no suggestion he is nearing the end of his career, but there is a school of thought that he is no longer the commanding presence he once was.
Real would love to lure De Gea back to the capital at the end of the season, and even if Carlo Ancelotti is dismissed after a trophyless campaign, their interest will not wane regardless of who is in charge. It is believed that the 24-year-old is, naturally, interested in a move to the soon to be dethroned European champions, but van Gaal believes he is also open to staying at United.
“I believe still that David de Gea shall stay,” said the Dutch coach, who last weekend admitted that there was a possibility his number one could leave for Madrid during the window. “After the match [at Hull City on Sunday], I have the Monday to talk, I have spoken to some players this week. You have to wait and see how these talks develop in terms of players staying or going away.”
If De Gea does return to Madrid, the Reds could at least already have his successor in place. Victor Valdes moved to Old Trafford earlier this season, and it is unlikely the former Barcelona star would be willing to spend another term on the bench. When asked if he could replace his compatriot, van Gaal said: “He is of course good enough for Manchester United, or he wouldn’t be here.”
De Gea has just over one year left on his contract, has made 175 appearances for United in all competitions, and he helped them win the Premier League title in 2013 and two Community Shields. He has been named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for the past two seasons, and his performances this term have played a huge role in van Gaal’s side returning to the top-four.
Is Louis van Gaal’s optimism to keep David De Gea from the clutches of Real Madrid misguided, and is Victor Valdes good enough to take the number one jersey?