Wednesday 25 April 2018

David de Gea looks certain to leave Manchester United as Van Gaal confirms he will not play against Spurs

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal with David De Gea
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal with David De Gea

Louis van Gaal says goalkeeper David de Gea is not ready to start Manchester United's Barclays Premier League game against Tottenham tomorrow.

De Gea has been the subject of interest from Real Madrid all summer.

The Spain international started the final two games of United's pre-season tour of the United States, but is not ready to play in the first game of the season, according to Van Gaal.

"He shall not play," the United boss said.

"I think a human being is more than only a player, and he (De Gea) cannot manage that," Van Gaal added.

Senior figures at United have insisted all summer that the club would only sell De Gea if they received Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos as part of a swap deal.

"We have problems of course with De Gea," Van Gaal said.

Van Gaal has only limited options when it comes to a replacement for their two-time player of the year.

Victor Valdes has been frozen out after Van Gaal claimed the former Barcelona 'keeper told him he would not play for the Under-21 side last season.

Read more: Neville brothers in mourning following the sudden death of their father

Sam Johnstone started the other two games of United's tour but is yet to make a competitive appearance for the club. Last season he spent time on loan at Doncaster and Preston.

The most likely alternative appears to be Sergio Romero, who signed for the club on a free transfer last week.

But when asked if Argentina's number one would start the lunch time kick-off at Old Trafford, Van Gaal said: "You have to wait and see who is starting."

Anders Lindegaard is another option, but the Dane has never played under Van Gaal and is therefore not currently in favour.

When asked what he thought the outcome of the De Gea saga would be, Van Gaal said: "I don't know. That's in process.

"I cannot lead this process - I can only watch and observe and that's what I'm doing, but I'm not participating in it."

Van Gaal has a number of replacements in his squad for Saturday's game, but none of them are ideal.

Sam Johnstone played all four games of United's pre-season tour, but the 22-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut and spent the majority of last season on loan at League One sides Preston and Doncaster.

Preston were keen on signing Johnstone permanently, but it appears they are planning for life without the 22-year-old after bringing in Jordan Pickford on loan from Sunderland.

Victor Valdes is set to leave Manchester United

Victor Valdes has been frozen out at Old Trafford after Van Gaal claimed the former Barcelona keeper told him he would not play for the Under-21 side last season.

Anders Lindegaard has not played a league game for the club since April 2014 and is therefore unlikely to feature on Saturday.

Sergio Romero may be Argentina's number one but he only signed for the club on July 27 and is yet to turn out in a United shirt.

''You have to wait and see who is starting,'' Van Gaal said, when asked if Romero would play against Spurs.

The build-up to the first game of Van Gaal's second season at the helm has been far from ideal.

As well as the De Gea situation, the Dutchman has had to stomach the sale of star midfielder Angel di Maria this week.

United paid £59.7million for the Argentinian last summer but less than 12 months later he has left for Paris St Germain.

Di Maria claimed at his unveiling in the French capital on Thursday that United wanted him out of the club, but Van Gaal seems to think otherwise.

''For us that's a big loss,'' Van Gaal said of the former Real Madrid midfielder.

''I want more attackers with speed and creativity. Di Maria is one of those players so we have to look for that kind of player, but they have to have the talent to cope with the English rhythm and that's difficult to find.

''That's why players are not having success in this competition - because of the rhythm of the game and the English culture is another culture to the Latin culture. Maybe that's a reason (he left).''

Although he will not speak publicly on the matter, Van Gaal is expected to sign Barcelona forward Pedro as Di Maria's replacement.

Van Gaal confirmed Marcos Rojo and Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss Saturday's game as they lack match fitness.

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport