Belfast Telegraph

David De Gea is eyeing up his return as Man United's No.1 after Real Madrid transfer debacle

By Robert Jones

Louis van Gaal will wait until his final training session before deciding whether to reinstate David de Gea for Manchester United's Premier League battle with Liverpool on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Spanish shot-stopper has not started any of the Red Devils' six matches this season and looked nailed-on for a move to Real Madrid, only for the deal to dramatically collapse just before deadline day.

Van Gaal dropped his No.1 keeper after a sub-par display in United's defeat to Paris Saint-Germain during their pre-season tour of the United States.

The Dutchman questioned De Gea's mindset on the back of being linked with the La Liga giants all summer long.

However, when an offer was finally made and accepted, paperwork was not lodged in time to complete the transfer - which would have seen Real keeper Keylor Navas coming to Old Trafford - triggering a war of words between the clubs.

De Gea, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, cannot leave United until the window reopens in January.

But he could be back between the sticks for the clash when fierce rivals Liverpool come to the Theatre of Dreams, with kick-off at 5.30pm.

Replacement Sergio Romero, signed on a free transfer, had a nightmare performance in United's 2-1 defeat at Swansea City last time out and may drop to the bench to make way for De Gea's return.

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Van Gaal had said he would not select De Gea until the window had closed. He will now monitor the keeper's performance in training in the build-up to the match before making his decision.

De Gea made his first appearance of the season on Tuesday night in Spain's 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win in Macedonia where United team-mate Juan Mata's fortunate effort was enough to separate the sides.

De Gea said he was "happy" and hoping for "good fortune" as he looks to reclaim his No.1 spot at United.

"I felt good," said De Gea. "I really wanted to play. Now I need to keep working and see if I have some good fortune at my club as well. My future will be the same as now; remain calm, keep working and improving. In concrete terms, enjoy my football. I am happy."

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva, meanwhile, is determined to be an important player this season, despite almost leaving the club in the summer.

The 28-year-old appeared to be on the verge of a loan move to Besiktas, but injury to captain Jordan Henderson gave the Brazil international an opening and he has started the last two matches against Arsenal and West Ham.

"Every transfer window my name is (linked with a move). It's been very intense," he said.

"There are times when you think you might have to move on and I was very close, but I am committed to this club."

Belfast Telegraph


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