According to reports, Manchester United have identified their replacement for David De Gea – and it isn’t good news for Victor Valdes.
De Gea has established himself as perhaps the finest goalkeeper in the Premier League, having overcome a difficult start to life in England to become an integral part of the United side. But with his contract set to enter its final 12 months and Real Madrid eager to lure him back to Spain, the 24-year-old is likely to have played his last game for the club.
It was initially thought that Valdes would replace his compatriot in between the posts, having joined on a free transfer last season. But the 33-year-old, who won a host of honours during his lengthy spell at Barcelona, doesn’t appear to have convinced manager Louis van Gaal, who will instead turn towards a player he coached at the World Cup Finals.
The Telegraph claims the Dutchman has set his sights on a deal for compatriot Jasper Cillessen, who was his first choice ahead of Tim Krul as Oranje reached the semi-finals in Brazil 12 months ago. The 26-year-old is currently plying his trade with Ajax, and has been recommended to van Gaal by Old Trafford’s goalkeeper coach Frank Hoek.
Real, meanwhile, will step up their pursuit of De Gea this week. Rafael Benitez wants the 24-year-old on board long before he takes his players on their pre-season tour of Australia next month, and a bid of £20million will be offered in the coming days. This would represent just a small profit on the £18.3million United paid Atletico Madrid for him in 2011.
It has previously been suggested that van Gaal could as Los Blancos for one of their players as part of the deal for De Gea, with France international striker Karim Benzema an ambitious target. Recent reports have also claimed that defender Sergio Ramos could be a target for the Reds, with the Daily Star reporting that a £20million bid could soon be made.