Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has signed for Manchester United as "the number two goalkeeper", said manager Louis van Gaal. The 32-year-old Spain international penned an 18-month agreement, with the choice of another year. Valdes had been training with the Red Devils as he recuperated from a major knee injury after his Barca contract ended.
"I can already see this is a very special club," said Valdes, who will cover for David De Gea. "I worked with Louis van Gaal during my time at Barcelona and to have the opportunity to work with him here at Manchester United is a dream come true."
Van Gaal said that Valdes had been "very impressive" during training. "He joins the club as the number two goalkeeper and is a great addition to the first team," the Dutchman added.
Valdes emergence has given rise to some uncertainty about the future of 24-year-old first-choice goalkeeper De Gea, who was Man Utd's player of the year last season. His deal will come to an end in 2016, however senior United sources have said they were relaxed about him signing an extension to that contract.
While Valdes seems glad to be second in command for De Gea, telling MUTV: "Always in my career, I have played to help my team-mates, to help my coach and to help everybody. I am a part of the team." He added: "I think now, in the moment, De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world."
But Valdes' advent could lead to substitute keeper Anders Lindegaard exiting Old Trafford. The Denmark international, 30, had arrived in a £3.5m deal in January 2011 but since then has made only 19 Premier League appearances.
United's two other goalkeeping alternatives are 21-year-old Sam Johnstone, who is on loan at Doncaster, and 24-year-old Ben Amos, who was condemned by Van Gaal for letting in Miralem Pjanic's 60-yard lob against Roma in pre-season.
Before last season started, Valdes had affirmed he would quit Barcelona at the end of that campaign. However, he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in March and unfortunately missed the World Cup.
Valdes's honors at FC Barcelona
La Liga: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
Copa del Rey: 2009, 2012
Spanish Super Cup: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
UEFA Champions League: 2006, 2009, 2011
UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
For Country Spain
FIFA World Cup: 2010
UEFA European Football Championship: 2012
Zamora Trophy: 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year: 2010, 2011