Belfast Telegraph

Valdes backed to become United No.1

Victor Valdes would be the "perfect" replacement for David de Gea, according to former Manchester United goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw.

Real Madrid target De Gea hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday, and although United sources rejected claims they had received an offer from the Spanish giants for the player on Monday, there is a possibility he may never play for the club again.

United have already drawn up a list of potential replacements for the 24-year-old should he depart for Madrid, but Van der Gouw believes the club already have a perfect replacement among their ranks in Valdes.

"With what he knows about football and the way he is playing, he is perfect for United," the former United stopper told BBC Sport.

"He can play for another three or four years in a top team."

Valdes' pedigree cannot be doubted. He won the Champions League three times with Barcelona and was part of the Spain squad that lifted the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.

The Arsenal game was the first time he had played in 14 months, though, as he has been going through a long and trying rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.

Until Sunday, Valdes' only appearance in a United shirt came for the under-21 side. The 33-year-old insists he has enjoyed his time at the club since signing in January, though.

''It's been good, all good,'' he told Press Association Sport.

''My team-mates have treated me well here. The coach has treated me well. The truth is that it has all been good.

''I am very happy to be here. I have one more year on my contract here. Let's see what happens.''

While De Gea appears to be edging closer to the exit door, another player is on his way in.

Memphis Depay was in Manchester on Monday as he completed a medical ahead of his £25million move to United from PSV Eindhoven.

Depay was the Eredivisie's top scorer this season, with 22 goals in 30 appearances.

But given that he is just 21 years old, former United captain Gary Neville thinks it may take time for the winger to blossom into the world-class player he hopes to become.

''Depay looks like an exciting player but there's a lot of obstacles to overcome to determine as to whether he's going to become the real deal," Neville said.

''He's got to settle in the country and get used to playing football in Manchester. It will be different but it fits the bill in terms of him being a young player.''

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