Monday 22 January 2018

Louis van Gaal: David de Gea dropped because of Real Madrid transfer speculation

David de Gea will miss United's Premier League opener
David de Gea will miss United's Premier League opener

David de Gea has been dropped for Manchester United's game against Tottenham because he has been mentally affected by speculation regarding his future, according to manager Louis van Gaal.

Goalkeeper De Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid all summer, but he still remains on United's books going into the new season.

The Spaniard will not play any part in the first game of the new campaign versus Spurs, however, as he is not in the right frame of mind.

''He shall not play,'' the United boss said.

"We have problems with De Gea. I think the human being is more than only the player and I don't think he can manage that.

"It's not easy for De Gea to manage his situation."

United have retained a firm stance on De Gea all summer, insisting he will not be sold to the Spanish giants unless they receive Sergio Ramos in return.

But Van Gaal admitted the situation with De Gea, whose pop star girlfriend lives in Madrid, was not favourable at the end of United's pre-season tour and the Dutchman's latest remarks are bound to increase speculation that the 24-year-old is destined for the Bernabeu.

When asked what he thought the outcome of the De Gea saga would be, Van Gaal said: ''I don't know. That's in process.

''I cannot lead this process. I can only watch and observe and that's what I'm doing, but I'm not participating in it.''

Van Gaal has a number of replacements in his squad for Saturday's game, but none of them are ideal.

Sam Johnstone played all four games of United's pre-season tour, but the 22-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut and spent the majority of last season on loan at League One sides Preston and Doncaster.

Preston were keen on signing Johnstone permanently, but it appears they are planning for life without the 22-year-old after bringing in Jordan Pickford on loan from Sunderland.

Victor Valdes has been frozen out at Old Trafford after Van Gaal claimed the former Barcelona keeper told him he would not play for the Under-21 side last season.

Anders Lindegaard has not played a league game for the club since April 2014 and is therefore unlikely to feature on Saturday.

Sergio Romero may be Argentina's number one but he only signed for the club on July 27 and is yet to turn out in a United shirt.

''You have to wait and see who is starting,'' Van Gaal said, when asked if Romero would play against Spurs.

The build-up to the first game of Van Gaal's second season at the helm has been far from ideal.

As well as the De Gea situation, the Dutchman has had to stomach the sale of star midfielder Angel di Maria this week.

United paid £59.7million for the Argentinian last summer but less than 12 months later he has left for Paris St Germain.

Di Maria claimed at his unveiling in the French capital on Thursday that United wanted him out of the club, but Van Gaal seems to think otherwise.

''For us that's a big loss,'' Van Gaal said of the former Real Madrid midfielder.

''I want more attackers with speed and creativity. Di Maria is one of those players so we have to look for that kind of player, but they have to have the talent to cope with the English rhythm and that's difficult to find.

''That's why players are not having success in this competition - because of the rhythm of the game and the English culture is another culture to the Latin culture. Maybe that's a reason (he left).''

Although he will not speak publicly on the matter, Van Gaal is expected to sign Barcelona forward Pedro as Di Maria's replacement.

Van Gaal confirmed Marcos Rojo and Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss Saturday's game as they lack match fitness.

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