Petr Cech lined up as United replacement for €30m Real Madrid target David De Gea
Petr Cech has emerged as a potential replacement for David de Gea at Manchester United after Louis van Gaal confirmed that the club has drawn up a short-list of targets to prepare for the Spanish goalkeeper leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid.
De Gea, an £18.3m signing from Atlético Madrid in June 2011, is continuing to resist United’s attempts to secure him to a new long-term contract worth £200,000-a-week.
With the 24-year-old’s current deal due to expire at the end of next season, United are now bracing themselves for De Gea to pursue a move to Real this summer in order to return to his home city, which is the base of his popstar girlfriend, Edurne García Almagro.
And with the pull of Madrid becoming irresistible for De Gea, Van Gaal admits contingency plans are now in place with United able to do little to persuade the Spain international to stay.
“You have three parties and the most important party is always the player,” Van Gaal said. “I have already said this, so I don't want to repeat myself.
“But when you ask that, it [De Gea’s future] is dependable not of Manchester United and not of me, because we want him to sign.
“He has to sign, he has to want to stay here at Manchester United. I don't know [why he hasn't decided] and I don't know if we can offer what Madrid can. I cannot speak for Real Madrid.
"But we have a very good scouting commission, so we shall already know who shall be the next goalkeeper. We also have a list of goalkeepers who can replace him because we have to be organised always. Not only for that position, but for every position.
“But we want him (De Gea) to stay and I hope he shall sign.”
United gave the former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes an 18-month contract in January to provide experienced competition for De Gea, but the 33-year-old has yet to make an appearance for the first-team and is unlikely to be elevated to first choice next season.
Victor Valdes may get a chance to stake his claim in the last two games of the season
Tottenham ‘keeper Hugo Lloris remains a long-standing target, having been considered by Sir Alex Ferguson as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar prior to the move for De Gea four years ago.
Spurs are understood to be determined to repel any offers for the France international, but while United would not be deterred by any hardline stance at White Hart Lane, the availability of Chelsea goalkeeper Cech has been noted by United.
The 32-year-old - two years younger than Van der Sar when he arrived at United from Fulham in 2005 - has made only sixteen appearances for Chelsea this season having been dislodged by Thibaut Courtois and has been told by the champions that he can leave this summer after 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
Despite the likely reluctance of Jose Mourinho to sell to United or Arsenal, who are also pursuing Cech, the Czech Republic international’s agent claimed on Friday that an agreement is in place for the goalkeeper to sign for any interested club.
“We have been permitted by Chelsea to negotiate with interested parties," said Cech’s agent, Viktor Kolar.
"Petr has confirmed his interest to play regularly at a top club. That's the task that we are now working on. But other than that, there has not been any other change in terms of Petr Cech's employment and the transfer period only begins on 1 July."
Valdes, who has played a number of reserve games since signing for United in January, may be handed a first-team opportunity by Van Gaal over the final two games of this season - against Arsenal and Hull - to stake a claim for the position should De Gea confirm an intention to leave the club.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal has urged England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate to omit Luke Shaw from his squad for this summer’s European U-21 Championship after insisting that the United defender must rest in order to recover from his injury-ravaged season.