Having been without a club for five months, everyone thought that when Manchester United signed Victor Valdes in January 2015 it would be a highly successful move for all parties involved. Valdes’ contract with Barcelona had expired after 14 years with the Catalan giants and prior to moving to Old Trafford, he was recovering from a very serious knee injury.
United offered the goalkeeper the chance to complete his rehabilitation process at their AON Training Complex and regain his full fitness. However, a potentially good bit of business turned into a nightmare situation and in last month’s transfer window the 34-year-old shot-stopper joined Belgian team Standard Liege on a six-month loan deal.
What went wrong for Valdes at Man United, and does he have a future at the club beyond the summer?
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Valdes made his first appearance since suffering his knee injury in January 2015 for United’s Under-21s in a 2-1 win over Liverpool. Before that match, Valdes inspired the youngsters with a team-talk based on the philosophy of his former boss and Manchester City manager-in-waiting Pep Guardiola.
In the senior team, he played the role of understudy to his compatriot and world-class goalkeeper David de Gea. Valdes made his first-team debut against Arsenal when he was substituted on for the injured De Gea and went on to keep a clean sheet against Hull City in United’s final game of last season.
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What went wrong?
Ever since the Barcelona legend refused to play in a reserves match last season, he has been ostracised at the club. Last summer Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal put Valdes on the transfer list as a consequence and claimed he had no future at the club.
Valdes didn’t receive a squad number for the current campaign and reportedly even had his club suit and tie taken away from him. The three-time Champions League winner looked to have found an escape route in the form of a move to Besiktas, however he failed to agree personal terms with the Turkish club.
Will Valdes ever play for United again?
If Man United were to lose De Gea to Real Madrid in the summer it could mean that Valdes is brought out of the wilderness and back into the first-team picture at Old Trafford. Los Blancos were recently hit with a transfer ban, but FIFA’s provisional suspension of this sanction as a result of Real’s appeals means the 10-time Champions League winners could be free to buy players when the window next opens.
It’s clear to see that the main problems lie not between Valdes and the club, but between Valdes and Van Gaal. Having kept a clean sheet on his Standard Liege debut in their 2-0 win at Leuven, Valdes aimed a parting shot at the 64-year-old Dutchman via social media.
Valdes has continually thanked United’s fans for their support in what has arguably been the worst period of his entire professional career. If Van Gaal was to leave United at the end of the season it might open the door for Valdes, who is out of contract in the summer, to renegotiate with the club and establish himself in the team.
That said, in recent months his long-term partner Yolanda Cardona has criticised United for their treatment of her husband and the couple weren’t invited to the club’s UNICEF charity dinner in November. Valdes has made only two appearances for Van Gaal’s men and it seems as though the keeper is most definitely looking for a permanent way out of Manchester.
Does Valdes have a future at Manchester United? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!