A host of names have been linked with Manchester United as a consequence of that – Hugo Lloris and Jasper Cillessen to name two – but is De Gea’s replacement already at the club?
Much was said about Victor Valdes‘ arrival at United last January. It may not have been a financial outlay considering he was a free transfer but many saw it as the prelude to De Gea’s departure. With Iker Casillas set to leave Real Madrid this week, that is slowly falling into place.
Fully recovered from the ankle injury that marred him for so long, Valdes is a potential replacement for De Gea and comes with the added benefit of having worked under Van Gaal before.
It would be naive to simply dismiss the idea that Valdes would step into De Gea’s shoes should he leave for Real Madrid.
Why else would Van Gaal have given the veteran goalkeeper a contract if he didn’t intend to use him next year or sell him to make a profit? There had to be a logic to him being signed, unless you think Van Gaal did it simply out of the goodness of his heart.
On his full debut last season, Valdes looked very much like an early version of De Gea as he was overpowered on crosses but dominant at shot stopping. It was what most United fans expected to see.
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Valdes is schooled in Spanish football where the goalkeepers don’t have to deal with such aggression from the opposition, so he certainly isn’t a ready made replacement but there is great potential there.
One real asset Valdes has is his ability with the ball at his feet because it suits Van Gaal’s style of play. If De Gea does leave, he’ll want a goalkeeper who is more than comfortable in possession and having played in one of the best Barcelona sides of all time, Valdes certainly ticks that box.
Van Gaal and Frans Hoek have worked with Valdes before at Barcelona and they all know each other well, so if De Gea does leave then there is every chance we won’t be seeing another goalkeeper arrive at all. Instead, Valdes may well become the new No.1.
Do you think Valdes would be a good replacement for De Gea or should Van Gaal bring somebody in?