United confident of De Gea staying

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United manager Louis van Gaal gave no signs of optimism last week that De Gea would be persuaded to stay, after his best season for the club in which he was shortlisted for Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.

But the prospects of him remaining at Old Trafford are understood to have improved and it is thought he is ready to stay until summer next year.

Though attempts to persuade him to resist the emotional draw of the Bernabeu may fail if Real seek his services then, an improved United contract this summer - in the region of £200,000 a week - strengthening the Old Trafford club's negotiating position next year is thought to be possible.

The pessimism surrounding De Gea has included the continued presence of his girlfriend in Madrid and her own recent unflattering comments about Manchester. Van Gaal's installation of Victor Valdes, whom he is acquainted with from his own time at Barcelona, is also seen as a protection against losing De Gea this summer, though there are other alternatives.

Chelsea's Petr Cech will be on the market and could be an attractive proposition at the age of 32 - relatively young for a goalkeeper.

But De Gea's role has been fundamental to United's recovery to a probable top-four berth in the Premier League this season and, with United in need of a central defender, central midfielder and striker to strengthen the squad for a renewed European campaign, Van Gaal does not want to lose the 24-year-old Spaniard.

The Real manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has said that if the Spanish club, who lie second in La Liga, acquired a better goalkeeper than Iker Casillas the Spain international would lose his place, though De Gea could face a fight for regular football at the Bernabeu, while he would be guaranteed a key role in United's campaign. Casillas is not expected to leave until summer next year.

Van Gaal wants security and continuity, at a time when he is looking to bolster his squad in other ways. He is interested in the PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay and the Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, though United are not thought to have made a firm bid for Hummels yet. The Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gündogan is also thought to be on the radar, as is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

With Van Gaal accepting that Robin van Persie's most potent years are behind him, a goalscorer like Lewandowski is required for the rigours of a Premier League/Champions League campaign. – The Independent

Original source: United confident of De Gea staying

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