Louis van Gaal’s broadside against Victor Valdes has left everyone guessing – did he vow to sell the second-choice goalkeeper having been informed that David de Gea won’t leave Manchester United this summer, or was it just van Gaal being van Gaal?
The veteran Dutch tactician and “very social human being”, as he described himself mid-tirade, claimed that Valdes “refused to play in the second team” and “doesn’t follow my philosophy”, causing him to conclude that “there is no place for someone like that”.
It was a surprising turn of events given both that van Gaal and Valdes got on well when together at Barcelona – enough for Valdes to describe the opportunity to work with the coach again as a “dream come true” in January – and that he indicated an eagerness to remain at the club earlier in the week.
However, the initial interpretation that it might signal an extended stay at Old Trafford for number one appears to have been flawed, with the 24-year-old still 1/5 to move to Real Madrid in this window on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Though the ten-time European champions have made clear their intention to recruit a goalkeeper by relinquishing captain Iker Casillas to Porto, they have been reluctant to meet Man United’s Christian Benteke-esque valuation of around £32.5 million.
Florentino Perez evidently believes that he will be able to drive down the price because De Gea is seemingly unwilling to extend his contract, which expires in 2016, and it obviously isn’t in the Red Devils’ interest to let him run it down and leave for free next year.
Real Madrid aren’t exactly in a position to wait 12 months either considering the lack of faith they displayed last season in Keylor Navas, the most senior shot-stopper left at the Bernabeu, so the likelihood is that a compromise will ultimately be reached.
Perez showed with Javier Hernandez and Gareth Bale in the previous two summers that he is happy holding out until deadline day, and got close to that in 2012 with long-term target Luka Modric too.
The problem for Man United, especially if they lose both De Gea and Valdes, is that numerous possible between-the-sticks purchases have passed them by, including Petr Cech and Asmir Begovic.
The best option at their disposal is Hugo Lloris, who they are 7/4 to procure, but there are conflicting reports on how significant an obstacle his fractured wrist is to doing business. This writer’s hunch is that it is being overstated, yet there is also the issue of Tottenham requiring a replacement for the Frenchman. Valdes, anyone?