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Manchester United ready for De Gea departure after Romero raid

Manchester United, 5/1 Premier League title chances with Coral, have brought in free agent goalkeeper Sergio Romero on a three-year contract, as they prepare for life after star Spanish stopper David de Gea either this or next summer.

Argentina number one Romero, 28, played under Red Devils coach Louis van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar where the pair won the Dutch Eredivisie in 2008/09.

His last club was Sampdoria, but the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America finalist slipped down the pecking order there and was loaned out to Monaco in 2013/14.

“We have to prepare our season with the threat that David de Gea is going to Real Madrid,” said Van Gaal. “You need always competition. When I see that a player is better than the player in the line-up, he shall play the next match.”

United are also set to let Victor Valdes leave Old Trafford after he reportedly refused to play in a reserve match. Romero will thus provide competition for De Gea alongside Anders Lindegaard.

Capped 62 times for his country, Romero becomes the Red Devils’ fifth summer signing after Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.

De Gea, long hailed as Iker Casillas’ successor at both the Bernabeu and for Spain, has one year left on his United contract. Future interest from Real in his services should materialise now that Casillas has left Los Blancos for Porto.

Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas and Kiko Casilla, who returned to Madrid from Espanyol this summer, appear to be stop gap measures until De Gea is lured to the Bernabeu.

The Red Devils now have a contingency plan in Romero, who ironically knocked old and new boss Van Gaal out of the Brazil World Cup, when the latter was in charge of the Netherlands last summer, as Argentina won a semi-final penalty shoot-out.

Romero has limited experienced in continental club competitions, however, with just 13 European appearances to his name. Man Utd are 20/1 shots to make a winning returning to the Champions League.