Belfast Telegraph

Van Gaal: We want De Gea to stay

Louis van Gaal has reiterated his desire to keep David de Gea but admits he cannot rule out the possibility of the goalkeeper leaving Manchester United.

De Gea, who won the club's player of the year award last year, has been outstanding again this term, rescuing United on a number of occasions.

Real Madrid are said to be keen on recruiting the Spaniard to replace Iker Casillas, who is entering the final years of his career.

De Gea has 18 months left on his contract but Van Gaal would not reveal how talks are progressing with the 24-year-old over a new deal.

"I think that is a question between the player and the board of Manchester United," the United boss said when quizzed about progress of the negotiations.

When asked whether he feared losing De Gea to the 10-time European Champions, Van Gaal said: "Everything is possible in the world of football. We want to keep him."

Van Gaal signed former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes earlier this month and he surely will step in to his compatriot's boots if he decides to head back to the Spanish capital.

But other than Valdes and 20-year-old Libyan Sadiq El Fitouri - who signed from Salford City on Friday - Van Gaal expects no more incomings before the transfer window shuts on Monday night.

''No. I read every day that I am interested in players. I am not interested in players,'' Van Gaal said when asked if he would sign anyone before the window shuts.

''I have said we are selling or letting players go....but you never trust me.''

Van Gaal said it was "possible" unwanted midfielder Anderson would leave by Monday night and he confirmed other fringe players are likely to leave.

Wilfried Zaha has been linked with a permanent move to Crystal Palace, where he is on a season-long loan.

Press Association Sport understands Anders Lindegaard's representatives are looking at potential destinations for their client, who is now third in the goalkeeping pecking order.

Darren Fletcher was having a medical at West Ham on Friday after being granted a free transfer by the club where he has been for the last 20 years.

Van Gaal will not stand in Fletcher's way even though he would have come in handy because of a muscle injury to Michael Carrick, who will be out for at least four weeks.

''He is my third captain. He is an important guy in the dressing room. I like him as a human being and as a player. We shall miss him,'' Van Gaal said of Fletcher, who - along with Carrick - was named as a deputy to skipper Wayne Rooney last summer.

''But he has not played so many times. I think always that is the main goal of a player. We have talked about that. He prefers to play. Therefore we have helped him to go away.

''For us, it is a miss, a loss. For the club who bought him, it is another player with a lot of qualities, as a midfielder and as a captain.

''He is a very experienced player.''

The signing of El Fitouri from the Evo-Stik first division north club Salford, who are part-owned by members of the famed Class of '92, is an interesting one.

El Fitouri has been training with United after they were alerted to him by former players Phil Neville and Paul Scholes

Salford signed the right-back after he was released by Manchester City and he has now signed an 18-month deal at Old Trafford.

''This is a dream come true for me and I have to thank SCFC (Salford City) for the chance as well as the faith they have showed in me,'' El Fitouri said.

''I am really looking forward to what happens next and to be given the opportunity to do so at Manchester United is unbelievable.''

El Fitouri will join up with Warren Joyce's Under-21 squad.

The first team return to action on Saturday against Leicester, the side that caused possibly the most embarrassing defeat of Van Gaal's reign last September.

The 5-3 loss at the King Power Stadium was a thrilling encounter, but United's play has been anything but exciting of late.

The team have scored just five goals in their last six matches and Van Gaal wants to see an improvement.

"The last matches we failed to do that (entertain) because goals are the most important thing and the fans are enjoying the goals the most so when we are not scoring too much then you cannot enjoy the game," the 63-year-old said.

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