Goalkeeper David de Gea to stay with Manchester United
Manchester United appear increasingly confident that they have won their battle to retain goalkeeper David De Gea's services - for at least one more season.
The Spaniard, who is coveted by Real Madrid, is enjoying his best-ever season with United and was shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award.
The prospects of him remaining at Old Trafford are understood to have improved significantly and it is thought he is ready to stay until summer next year.
An improved United contract for De Gea - in the region of £200,000 a week - will be offered to strengthen the club's negotiating stance should Real try again in 2016.
The recent 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 time at Barcelona, is seen as protection against losing De Gea, though there are other options.
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.
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.
He is interested in PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. 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 will be required.