Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who came within minutes of joining Real Madrid last week, signed a new four-year contract with the Premier League club yesterday.
The announcement capped a remarkable turn of events after the keeper was on the verge of signing for the Spanish club only for the transfer to collapse because of paperwork arriving past the permitted deadline.
United announced the new four-year contract, with an option to extend for a further year, on Twitter, and De Gea said in a statement: “I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career.
“I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and concentrating on working hard to improve and help my teammates to be successful.”
The news of an extension was understandably well-received by United manager Louis van Gaal, who said: “I am absolutely delighted David has signed a new contract. He is one of the best goalkeepers in world football. I am very pleased that he will be part of the team for many years to come.”
That De Gea has committed his future to the Premier League giants is all the more remarkable given the events of the past few months.
The Spaniard, who was long courted by Madrid, was on the brink of a move to the capital worth a reported £36 million (Dh203.9m) involving Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas in a part-exchange.
But the deal collapsed at the last minute, with a Spanish Professional League (LFP) spokesperson confirming that De Gea had not been registered as a Madrid player.
De Gea has not played for the Premier League club this season after being dropped by Van Gaal, who said the player told him he was not in the right frame of mind to play while the transfer saga continued.
But with his future cleared up, De Gea could be set to return to the United team in time for today’s showdown at home to fierce rivals Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal said he has been approached by senior United squad members Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, with concerns over the spirit in the side.
Van Gaal said he welcomed the exchange with the club’s captain and vice-captain. He said: “Rooney and Michael Carrick came to me and said: ‘The dressing room is flat.’
“I think I have a superb relationship with my players. Maybe you have to consider how many players are coming to the manager to say something.
“In my career as a manager, I didn’t have so many who come to say something about the atmosphere in the dressing room or the way we train, or something like that. But it is very positive that they are coming to you and that they trust you.”
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