Manchester United appear to be closing in on a formal deal to sign Victor Valdes after the Spanish goalkeeper rejected an offer to play for the Catalan national team against a Basque side in an exhibition match on December 28.
The 32-year-old's reluctance to return to his homeland for the festive fixture perhaps gives the clearest indication yet that an Old Trafford announcement is imminent, as the stopper steps up the final stage of his recovery from serious injury.
Valdes tore his anterior cruciate ligament playing for Barcelona back in March and subsequently left Camp Nou on a free transfer during the summer. He has remained without a permanent club ever since, despite reportedly agreeing a £150,000-a-week deal with AS Monaco before injury struck and prompted the Ligue 1 outfit to pull out.
Valdes is believed to still be in discussions with the Principality over a compensation package after claiming that he is still entitled to some money, and with an agreement close the negotiations are not expected to compromise his next move.
Louis van Gaal offered the veteran custodian an opportunity to train with Manchester United in October, and his presence around the Premier League club's Carrington training base ever since has led to speculation suggesting the Red Devils boss plans to give Valdes a contract, particularly amid recent speculation linking David De Gea with an exit.
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It's anticipated that Valdes would still move to the Theatre of Dreams even as back-up to the current No.1, who has been one of United's best and most consistent players over the past two seasons, which is why he's been attracting admiring glances from a host of top European suitors including Real Madrid.
And, after comments made by Catalonia boss Gerard Lopez, it looks as though Valdes is not particularly concerned about De Gea's future, he's just focused on securing himself a Manchester United contract, which means no time off to travel back for the exhibition game in San Mames between Christmas and New Year.
"Valdes cannot come or has chosen not to come," confirmed Lopez in an interview with Catalonia Radio. "Pending the future, I opened the door for him to come but they [Valdes and his representatives] declined the proposal.
"He is a Catalan and a great goalkeeper and I support him. I do not know why, he has his reasons, but declined the proposal."
According to Mundo Deportivo last week, Mexican side Queretaro wanted to follow up the marquee acquisition of Ronaldinho by signing another Barcelona favourite, and were ready to offer Valdes a permanent deal. However, that proposition is also understood to have been turned down.