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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Manchester United agree deal for goalkeeper David De Gea

Manchester United have agreed to sign Spain under-21 goalkeeper David De Gea from Atletico Madrid on a five-year contract, the Premier League champions said on Wednesday.United, seeking to replace retired keeper Edwin Van der Sar, did not provide details of the transfer fee but local media has estimated it to be around 18 million pounds ($29 million). The club said the 20-year-old had passed a medical test this week."I feel very proud and I can't wait to start playing here," De Gea said on the club website (www.manutd.com).

"When a club the size of Manchester United comes in for you it obviously makes you very, very happy. I saw their interest as an extra motivation to work even harder to show off my ability."De Gea, who came through the youth ranks at Atletico before making his La Liga debut in 2009, arrives at Old Trafford fresh from helping Spain to win the Euro Under-21 championship in Denmark last week.

He will be United's third signing since the end of the season as the champions have led the way in spending, having brought in defender Phil Jones and forward Ashley Young in a close season spree reported to be close to 50 million pounds.

United manager Alex Ferguson, who has spoken previously of the desire to sign an adequate replacement for Van der Sar in good time, targeted one of the continent's best young goalkeeping talents in De Gea. When Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel quit Old Trafford in 1999 the club struggled for six years to sign someone of a similar calibre, eventually settling on Van der Sar having passed up the chance to snap him up from Ajax years earlier.

Knowing the Dutchman planned to retire at the end of last season, when United won a record 19th English league title, Ferguson learnt from past mistakes and had already begun preparing for his top keeper's departure. He signed 27-year-old Dane Anders Lindegaard last November and De Gea will now compete with him and Van der Sar's previous deputy Tomasz Kuszscak for the number one spot between the posts.

"It's a great privilege to be part of a club like United and I'm keen to do my best and show what I can do," De Gea added.

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