By Toby Davis
MANCHESTER United goalkeeper David De Gea has signed a new four-year contract, the club said on Friday, a week after a proposed transfer to Real Madrid collapsed.
The Spain international, 24, almost joined Madrid on transfer deadline day, but the deal fell through as the necessary paperwork was not filed in time.
His previous deal was set to expire at the end of the season.
“I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career,” De Gea said in a statement on the club website (www.manutd.com).
“I have always enjoyed playing with these great players in front of our fantastic fans. Manchester United is a special club and Old Trafford is an ideal place for me to continue to develop my career.
“I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and concentrating on working hard to improve and help my team-mates to be successful.”
De Gea was left out of United’s opening games of the season, but could return to the starting line-up for today’s clash against arch-rivals Liverpool (7.30pm).
“I am absolutely delighted David has signed a new contract. He is one of the best goalkeepers in world football,” manager Louis van Gaal said.
“I am very pleased that he will be part of the team for many years to come. He is a popular player who is keen to learn and enhance his game.
“David made a very important contribution to our performance last season and he has been the club’s Player of the Year for the last two seasons,” added the Dutchman.
De Gea has made 175 appearances for United since joining the club from Atletico Madrid in 2011 in an £18.9 million deal.
He made several high-profile errors in his first few months in England, but has been in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year in two of the past three seasons.
De Gea was the man-of-the-match when the United and Liverpool met at Old Trafford last year, making a string of superb saves as the Red Devils won 3-0, the first part of a league double over Liverpool.
With the season still in its infancy, the teams have enjoyed similarly inconsistent starts, with both on seven points from four games and looking to rebound after disappointing defeats before the international break.
Liverpool come into the match seeking to heal the wounds of a 3-0 home defeat by West Ham United and will be without Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who was sent off in that dismal Anfield reverse.
United lost 2-1 at Swansea City but have since spent £36 million on teenage French forward Anthony Martial in a bid to add attacking impetus to a side that has looked defensively solid but lacking in attacking threat.
Manchester City meanwhile will take their 100 per cent record to Crystal Palace (5pm) while champions Chelsea travel to Everton (2.45pm) having lost two games and amassed only four points from their first four matches.
Responding to a question about where the club’s record £55 million signing Kevin De Bruyne will play, manager Manuel Pellegrini said it could be anywhere across the front line: “For De Bruyne’s position, it’s easier. I think he can play in all three positions, on the wings or as a 10 with no problems.”
City have looked imperious in their four straight wins, scoring ten goals and conceding none, but they face an in-form Palace who have won three of their first four.
Chelsea’s defence, which was watertight last season, has been frequently exposed and in today’s early kick-off they will come face to face with John Stones, Everton’s centre back who Jose Mourinho tried in vain to sign.
Arsenal, whose fans have vented their frustrations since the close of the transfer window after boss Arsene Wenger made no outfield signings, host Stoke City (5pm) who have claimed just two points from their first four games.
Sunderland host Tottenham on Sunday (3.30pm), with Aston Villa travelling to high-flying Leicester (6pm).