Victor Valdes is all but certain to leave Manchester United in the near future following reports the club are set to terminate his contract instead of attempting to sell him during January.
United manager Louis van Gaal is eager to offload Valdes after failing to get him off the Red Devils’ books during the summer transfer window.
The former Barcelona goalkeeper has been forced to train in isolation for much of his United career after he allegedly refused to partake in a reserves match in July. The accusation has also seen him deprived of a dressing room locker and excluded from official team photos.
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With his 18-month deal set to expire in the summer, Valdes is odds on to leave Carrington during the winter transfer window as the club considers whether to cash in on the ostracised 33-year-old or wait to let him go for nothing during the off-season.
Valdes undoubtedly has sufficient pedigree to earn a move to another top club, but where is the Spaniard most likely to go following his nightmare spell at Old Trafford?
The Red Devils’ bitter rivals were once linked with a swoop for Valdes to provide competition for number one goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has dismissed reports he is on the lookout for a replacement 'keeper, though the German could do far worse than snapping up Valdes on a cheap deal to bolster his squad.
However, with just two senior matches under his belt since January 2015, Valdes could have his work cut out trying to prove himself worthy of a place between the sticks at Anfield ahead of Mignolet and Adam Bogdan.
Valdes was reportedly set to complete an emergency loan move to Newcastle United after the Tyneside club suffered a goalkeeper injury crisis in October.
The St James' Park side have kept only three clean sheets this season, indicating Valdes would likely be given a chance to nudge Tim Krul or Rob Elliot out of the starting XI.
Celta Vigo could be one of the surprise contenders to secure Valdes’ signature as reported by Spanish media outlet Radio Nacional Galega.
The Balaidos outfit, currently fourth behind Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, could use a goalkeeper of Valdes’ calibre to help maintain their position at the top of the La Liga.
A return to Spain could be just what the Barcelona legend needs to rekindle his career following a horrid spell at Manchester United.
Valencia have also reportedly expressed an interest in bringing Valdes back to his home country during the January transfer period.
Juame Domenech, currently the top choice in goal at the Mestalla, has kept six clean sheets in all competitions this term to keep out Australia international Mat Ryan.
Valdes would likely give the pair a run for their money, though Valencia are in the process of rebuilding itself through young talent, and the 33-year-old doesn’t quite fit the bill in this regard.
WHICH WOULD SUIT HIM BEST?
A goalkeeper of Valdes’ quality is sure to have an abundance of clubs chasing his signature on a free transfer during the January transfer window.
The next move of his career is a crucial one. The Barcelona legend could pursue another challenge at the highest level, or settle for an eye-watering salary playing in China, America or the Middle East and prepare for life after football.
At 33-years-old, Valdes still has few years left to offer as a top-class goalkeeper and should make the most of his playing career before it’s too late.