Manchester United today unveiled former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes as their first high profile signing of the January transfer window.
In doing so however manager Louis van Gaal left the veteran shot-stopper under no illusions as to the role he is expected to fill at Old Trafford.
With fellow Spanish 'keeper David de Gea in the form of his life at present, playing an integral part in United's 11 game unbeaten run, Van Gaal made it clear that Valdes is arriving in Manchester to serve solely as his counterparts understudy.
"I am delighted Victor has signed for the club," Van Gaal told the media on Thursday evening as Valdes' 18-month deal was confirmed.
"I have said on many occasions that Manchester United will always be interested in the best players. He joins the club as the No 2 goalkeeper and is a great addition to the first team."
Back up role
Valdes spent 14 years at Barcelona and was the undisputed number one for the Catalan club in his final 11 seasons at Camp Nou. Since departing the Spanish giants last summer however he has been undergoing rehabilitation on a serious knee injury and, now aged 33, is clearly going to have to settle for a back up role as he begins the next chapter of an illustrious career.
While he may find first team minutes hard to come by in Manchester the arrival of Valdes - a man who has 21 domestic honours to his name alongside 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 winners medals - will mean de Gea has an experienced pro alongside him from which to learn from.
As for De Gea himself, there have been reports that the in-form 'keeper is stalling on signing a new deal in Manchester (his current contract runs until 2016) and as such the acquisition of Valdes is certainly a shrewd piece of business by Van Gaal.
Happy to be given a chance
Valdes himself seems undeterred by Van Gaal's confirmation at his No 2 role, insisting he is simply pleased that Manchester United showed faith in him at this stage of his career.
"It has been a hard recover time from my injury and the the first thing I want to say is thank you to Louis van Gaal for letting me work again with him and his team," explained the Spaniard.
As mentioned above, Victor Valdes arrives at United on an initial 18-month deal but there is an option to extend his contract for a further year should those involved see fit.
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