Victor Valdes joins Man Utd on 18-month deal as second keeper
Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has signed for Premier League 16/1 third-favourites with Coral Manchester United on an 18-month contract.
The 32-year-old, who has been a free agent since his release from the Catalan giants in the summer, has been recovering from a serious knee injury and training with the Red Devils to keep up his fitness. Red Devils boss confirmed he joins as a number two, at least for the time being.
“It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United. I would like to thank Louis van Gaal and the club for allowing me to do my rehabilitation and to train with the team at the Aon Training Complex,” Valdes said.
“From my short time here, I can already see this is a very special club. I worked with Louis van Gaal during my time at FC Barcelona and to have the opportunity to work with him here at Manchester United is a dream come true.”
Van Gaal had clearly been impressed with the Spain international, who once served under the Dutchman at Barca over a decade ago, and has moved to snap up the highly successful stopper for free.
“I am delighted Víctor has signed for the club,” the Dutchman said. “Victor is a very experienced goalkeeper and his record speaks for itself. I have said on many occasions that Manchester United will always be interested in the best players.
“Victor has remained very professional throughout his rehabilitation from injury and has been very impressive during his training sessions with the first team over the past weeks.
Van Gaal then confirmed: “He joins the Club as the number two goalkeeper and is a great addition to the first team.”
However, what does this signing mean for futures of superstar keeper David de Gea and backup Anders Lindegaard?
Fellow Spain international De Gea has been a revelation for United this term, and perhaps their best performer over the past couple of seasons, but will Valdes be happy to play second fiddle to him beyond the end of the season?
Real Madrid have been heavily linked with 24-year-old De Gea as a potential replacement for club captain and legend Iker Casillas, and has just 18 months left on his contract, meaning Man Utd could be forced to cash in on him in the summer rather than risk losing him for free.
Alternatively, Denmark stopper Lindegaard, who was reportedly told he could leave at the beginning of the season, could now make a January exit, with Valdes used to provide support and advise for De Gea. He has been a near ever-present over the past few seasons, so in need of a rest Valdes could be trusted.
For whatever the reason, Van Gaal will surely have a plan in place, and the capture of player who has 23 major trophies to his name can surely only be a good thing. Among those titles, Valdes has six La Liga crowns and three Champions Leagues with Barca, and a World Cup and European Championship with Spain.
Valdes is Catalan through and through, having been born in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in the region, and coming through the Barcelona academy. But, after 14 years in the senior team at the Nou Camp, he announced a year ago that he would be leaving to seek pastures new.
However, before the end of last season, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of the World Cup with Spain and prevented a move to Monaco, who were said to be on the verge of signing him.
Despite Valdes winning individual accolades throughout his club career, such as five Zamora Trophies and being named La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year once, he has never really been known as world class, and always overshadowed by Casillas’ ability.
Man Utd, who are still in with a shout of winning the Premier League this term, and are in the fourth round of the FA Cup, are 10/3 chances to claim a major trophy this term.