David De Gea to Real Madrid: Louis van Gaal tells goalkeeper to prepare for season with Manchester United after recovering from injury

De Gea has struggled with a back injury in the United States but looks set to play against Barcelona this Saturday

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The Independent Online

Manchester United will give their biggest sign yet that David De Gea is not going to join Real Madrid by putting him in goal for the pre-season friendly against Barcelona this Saturday.

De Gea has missed United’s opening two games of their US tour against Club America and San Jose Earthquakes due to what was described as a “minor” injury – revealed to have been a problem with his back.

But with United set to take on the Champions League winners at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, manager Louis van Gaal wants De Gea to start the match with their opening Premier League fixture against Tottenham just two weeks away.

 

Real are determined to sign De Gea this summer after allowing club legend Iker Casillas leave in a move to Porto. United’s insistence that any deal for De Gea must include Sergio Ramos moving in the other direction as put a halt to the move, and Real’s decision to sign Kiko Casilla from Espanyol suggests they are prepared to wait another year for the goalkeeper.

De Gea limped out of United’s penultimate game of last season against Arsenal after suffering a hamstring injury, though he has recovered from the issue and was believed to be suffering from a back strain in the United States. Having been given the all-clear by United’s medical staff, Van Gaal is set to call on the 24-year-old for the match against the European champions having deployed Sam Johnstone in their last outing.

Anders Lindegaard was only the bench for the 3-1 victory over San Jose, but Victor Valdes looks certain to be sold after he was left in the United Kingdom due to a rift with the United manager. Van Gaal accused Valdes of refusing to play for the reserve side, only for the former Barcelona star to take to Twitter and reject the claims.

United are on the verge of sealing a move for Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who is currently available on a free transfer after leaving Sampdoria after running down his contract. Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen is another on the United radar, but the view now is that either signing will be deemed a replacement for Valdes and not a new No 1 to fill De Gea’s boots.