Ole Gunnar Solskjaer yesterday said that he was optimistic that goalkeeper David de Gea would sign a new deal to remain at Old Trafford as Manchester United prepared to face old rivals Leeds United in Perth, Australia.
Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Australia has been overshadowed by speculation over the futures of several stars, including De Gea, who is in the final year of his contract and has been linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The Spaniard is reportedly close to signing a new five-year deal worth in excess of ￡350,000 (US$436,400) a week that would make him the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world.
De Gea was rested from Manchester United’s pre-season opener against Perth Glory on Saturday, but is due to line up against Leeds today to wrap up the Red Devils’ 10-day visit to the Western Australia city.
“He’ll play and hopefully we can agree [on a new deal] with David, as I’ve said a few times,” Solskjaer told reporters. “That’ll be up to David to announce when that happens, if and when.”
The United boss refused to be drawn on whether Leicester City and England centerback Harry Maguire was on his way to Old Trafford.
“There’s been loads of speculation, but I can’t really say anything,” Solskjaer said. “There’s a limit of players, and whoever performs will be part of the team and whoever doesn’t they will have to fight to get back in.”
After an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth, Manchester United are hoping for a better performance against one-time bitter enemies Leeds.
The rivalry has simmered since Leeds’ relegation from the English Premier League in 2004, but hostilities between the passionate fan bases are still evident with extra security measures being put in place by organizers at Perth Stadium.
Solskjaer said Manchester United were excited to renew the rivalry.
“Of course, you want to have games against the biggest clubs,” he said. “It’s a great occasion for both sets of supporters and the players because there were great games [in the past].”
Romelu Lukaku, who is reportedly looking to secure a move to Inter, is set to play his first pre-season match against Leeds after recovering from a “niggle.”
However, Luke Shaw is likely to miss out after suffering a hamstring injury in the match against Perth.
Manchester United have further pre-season games against Inter in Singapore on Saturday and Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai on Thursday next week, while Leeds head to Sydney to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
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