Manchester United owe much of their success this season to the brilliant play of goalkeeper David de Gea who has single handily won games for United this season.
De Gea has 18 months left on his current contract and United have been trying to sign him to a new deal for months now. Despite both sides saying it will get done, the persistent rumors of Real Madrid being interested in signing the former Atletico goalkeeper continue.
With that background it is interesting that Louis van Gaal has made the decision to sign former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes to an 18-month contract. Van Gaal has not been impressed with Anders Lindegaard in training and now De Gea will have a three-time Champions League winner competing with him for the starting job.
The De Gea/Victor Valdes dynamic will be an interesting one over the coming weeks. Valdes has only recently recovered from a serious knee injury but has not signed an 18-month contract at United to sit on the bench, and his relationship with manager Louis van Gaal and goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek is one that stretches back to the day 12 years ago when he was given his debut at Barcelona.
Indeed, Hoek spoke glowingly about Valdes last summer saying:
‘Victor is a goalkeeper, but he is also the 11th outfield player and able to construct moves,’ Hoek told a Dutch newspaper. ‘(Thibaut) Courtois at Chelsea, for example, has composure but he does not have this ability.’
Ultimately this will come down to De Gea and his agent Jorge Mendes deciding where he wants to play next season. Tellingly, the Daily Mail has this quote from a family friend of the United goalkeeper:
‘They are super-happy in Manchester. If it was all up to them, they would prefer for him to stay here.
‘In Spain, there would be huge pressure. You have four newspapers per day devoted to Real and Barcelona, invading your privacy. To replace Iker Casillas for both Spain and Real Madrid — can you imagine the scrutiny he would face?’
You cannot underestimate the second part of that quote. Think of the pressure and scrutiny that De Gea under when he arrived at United. That is nothing compared to the spotlight he would be under at the Bernabéu if he replaced Casillas, who will go down as one of Real Madrid’s all tiem greats.
What do you think of the signing of Victor Valdes?