Saturday 24 March 2018 / 06:51 PM

Man United sign Argentine keeper

Victor Valdes – and quite possibly even David De Gea – took a significant step towards the exit door at Old Trafford as Manchester United confirmed the signing of Argentina’s primary goalkeeper, Sergio Romero, on a free transfer.

Romero, who started between the sticks in all of Argentina’s World Cup matches last year during their run to the final, has linked up with Louis van Gaal for the second time in his career. They have also worked together at AZ Alkamaar in the Eredivisie, a relationship that was vital to the club being crowned domestic champions in 2009.

The move was officially announced on Manchester United’s club website.

“I am absolutely delighted to join Manchester United. To play for the biggest club in the world is a dream come true for me,” Romero said.

“Louis van Gaal is a fantastic manager and I cannot wait to get started on this new and exciting challenge in my career.”

Speaking to MUTV, van Gaal was similarly excited.

“Sergio Romero is an international goalkeeper from the Argentina team.He was also a former player of mine. I was trainer-coach, manager of AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, I picked him up when he was 19 and he was a great talent. We became champions with him, with a minor club, and in the Netherlands it was a fantastic result of course,” the high-profile manager said.

“I know him very well and I think in our situation, if De Gea is going or not going, it is always a threat and we have to take care, make sure that we are prepared and that is why I think it is very good that Sergio Romero is now a Manchester United player.”

With Louis van Gaal having publicly fallen out with Victor Valdes of late, and the speculation surrounding David de Gea showing no signs of abating, the move is likely to settle the angst of the United faithful. The worry that the club may be left with Anders Lindegaard, who has not played a senior game at the club for two years, as their premier shot-stopper looks to have been put to rest even if the Spanish goalkeeping duo bid farewell to the Red Devils this summer.

It has been a busy transfer season in the red half of Manchester so far, with some promising new faces arriving at the club, including Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and most notably, Bastian Schweinsteiger. However, many believe the club’s success during the transfer window hinges on whether van Gaal can manage to hold on to the hottest goalkeeping property in the world in David De Gea. He gave another glimpse of what United would miss and what Madrid could have by turning in a world class performance against Barcelona in California on Saturday, helping his side to a 3-1 win to maintain their 100 percent record during the pre-season so far. 

The goalkeeper has made no secret of his desire to join Los Blancos, but the clubs have been unable to agree on a price. It may well turn out that making De Gea see out his contract is the best option left to Louis van Gaal, but if Real Madrid were to make a bid anywhere north of £25 million for the superstar keeper, it is difficult to see Manchester United turning it down.

PSG are also keen on prising Angel di Maria from Old Trafford, with the former Madrid star having endured a frustrating debut season in the Premier League. There were flashes of brilliance that demonstrated why United broke the club’s record fee to sign him for £59.7 million, most famously a chipped goal against Leicester City last September, but he has, for the most part, failed to live up to that astronomical price tag. He missed United’s US tour that started last week, only fuelling speculation of a switch from rain-swept Manchester to the coffee shops of Paris.

Manchester United could gladly live with everything else, if only De Gea would squiggle his signature on a piece of paper handed to him by Louis van Gaal. But if not…

It is that very thought which likely prompted the manager to give his old protégé Sergio Romero a call. 

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Danyal Rasool

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