David De Gea looks set to be given a chance to resurrect his Manchester United career after being included in Louis van Gaal’s Champions League squad – with compatriot Juan Mata backing him to remain professional.
The Spain goalkeeper has yet to feature for the Red Devils this season as manager Van Gaal said he was not in the right frame of mind to play while a transfer to Madrid remained a possibility.
No surprise De Gea in #mufc CL squad. Would have been if he was left out…
— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) September 2, 2015
But as the Spanish transfer deadline closed on Monday, an issue with paperwork meant a deal did not happen and it leaves De Gea at Old Trafford until January at least.
Should De Gea play in the group stage, he would be cup-tied should Madrid revive their interest in the winter transfer window as both clubs continue to blame one another for not getting a deal over the line.
He will be challenging fellow goalkeepers Sergio Romero and Sam Johnstone as United face PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg on their return to European competition.
Romero has been an ever-present so far for the Red Devils but, now De Gea will be at the club until at least the turn of the year, team-mate Mata has backed his fellow countryman to act professionally.
“He seems the same as ever to me, calm and relaxed,” said Mata ahead of Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovakia on Saturday.
“It’s been a manic few days for him, he’s my friend and I’m there for him for whatever he needs. Right now he’s focused on the two upcoming games for the national team; being here will do him good and he’s going to be as professional as he has been throughout his career.
“His personality will help him. He manages to play even better in moments of maximum pressure and stress. His personality will help him on and off the pitch. His hunger and professionalism are intact. We all know what a great goalkeeper he is and he would make any team in the world better. The fans will get behind him and so will the team.”
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque earlier admitted it would be difficult for him to select De Gea in his European Championship squad for France if the goalkeeper remains on the sidelines at United.
Louis van Gaal took his total expenditure as Manchester United manager to over a quarter of a billion pounds following the signing of Anthony Martial from Monaco.
United failed in their last-minute bid to offload goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid on Monday night, but there were no late hiccups regarding Martial.
The Old Trafford club confirmed on Tuesday afternoon they had completed a deal to sign the 19-year-old French striker for an initial fee of £36million/€50m (Dh202m), rising to £58m/¤80m (Dh326m) depending on performance-related bonuses. He becomes the 12th signing of Van Gaal’s reign.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2015
In total, the Dutchman has spent around £261m (Dh1.5bn) on new additions since he took over last summer.
Martial, 19, also becomes the most expensive teenager in the history of football but insists he is not fazed about the challenge he will face in the Premier League.
“I don’t feel the pressure,” he told MUTV. “I know there is pressure but I’m ready for it. I’m very proud. I’m very happy because I worked hard for this and my family is very happy about it.
“I spoke with the coach, Louis van Gaal, and I know that I need to work very hard. It’s not easy to speak about myself but I am a very fast player. I hope that everything will go well for me at this club.”
Monaco, who signed Martial from Lyon two years ago for just €5m (Dh20.7m), rate the player highly, but the Ligue 1 club admitted United’s offer was simply too good to turn down.
– RATE, SHARE and WIN with our ValoraFutbol tool
– #360view: United and Real now need De Gea playing
– Phil Ball: James & Sporting Gijon early sensations
– Nepal’s heroic footballers step back onto the pitch
Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev told the club’s website: “We wished to keep him this season but Manchester United made an incredible offer that neither Anthony, nor AS Monaco, could refuse.
“Our project showcases many players and Anthony has proven his worth and potential on the pitch. Though this move was not planned, it shows the quality of the work undertaken by the technical staff but also that we were right to recruit him two years ago. We wish Anthony the best for the next chapter in his career”.
The forward, who scored 15 goals in 70 appearances for Monaco, has signed a four-year contract, with the option of another year.
Martial, who has been given the No 9 shirt, the same number he wore at Monaco, added: “I’m so excited to be joining Manchester United. I have enjoyed my time at AS Monaco and I would like to thank them and the fans for everything they have done for me.
“I have always wanted to play in the Premier League and to join the biggest club in the world is what every young footballer dreams of. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and working with Louis van Gaal, who has achieved so much in his career.”
Van Gaal was delighted to sign his man, but warned not to expect too much too soon from the Frenchman, who will now return to the French national team camp.
He said: “Anthony is a naturally talented, young, multi-functional forward with great potential. We have been watching him for a while now and he has developed immensely during his time at Monaco.
“I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him to continue his development as a young player.
“He has all the attributes to become a top football player; however we need to give him time to adjust to his new environment and the rhythm of the Premier League.”
Memphis Depay wants to be the next seventh wonder at Manchester United and carve his name in club folklore.
The young Dutchman showed his ambition and fearlessness when he asked for the coveted No. 7 shirt after Angel Di Maria’s move to Paris Saint-Germain.
And Depay, 21, says he is not scared to try to emulate the legends who have worn the iconic number, such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Yes, I know the history about the number,” he said. “I appreciate it. It’s an honour to wear the No7 and I will wear it with pride.
“But I want to be my own man. I want to show that I can wear it with pride. Last year I played with No 7 [for PSV Eindhoven] and I scored a lot of goals so I am confident with that number.”
Depay, who moved to United in the summer for £25 million (Dh142m) after helping PSV to the Eredivisie title, made his debut in the shirt in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Spurs.
In a tight game, he only managed to show glimpses of his quality, but was involved in the build-up to Kyle Walker’s own-goal winner.
And Depay added: “I want to bring creative things, goals, but yeah of course I have to play with discipline in midfield, I can’t lose the ball too much.
“I can make risks on the side when I come in the third phase, then I can make my tricks and take risks. I try to do it as good as possible. What I did last year, I want to do that at Manchester United.”
Boss Louis van Gaal played Depay, usually a winger, behind Wayne Rooney and admits he is “too eager” to impress at the moment.
“New players, especially young players, want to show their qualities and the next match shall be, only because of that, better for him,” the United boss said.
“It is a new position for him, and he has to adapt to the new position because he is a goalscoring type, but we have to wait and see if he can fulfil the demands of this position.”
Another option for that role could be Barcelona frontman Pedro, should United agree a deal with the Spanish club this week.
There is concern about United’s striking options if Rooney gets injured, and also at the back after Phil Jones was ruled out for at least three weeks with mild thrombosis. But Van Gaal says he will not panic buy in the transfer window.
“We have three centre-backs, we have [Paddy] McNair, Jones and [Chris] Smalling, but if he (a new signing) is much better than them then it is possible,” he added. “We go for the best players and it has to be possible.
“The striker is Wayne Rooney and we also have [Javier] Hernandez, [Adnan] Januzaj and [James] Wilson.
“It is not a special objective for me, but when we can buy another striker who has a lot of qualities, more than our players, then we buy. But we have done that always.”