Manchester United expect to sign £17.5m Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David De Gea within two weeks

Red Devils extremely confident after Spain under-21 star indicates he wants to move to Old Trafford as back-up target Maarten Stekelenburg looks for a different club
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Manchester United are confident of signing £17.5 million Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea in the next two weeks.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has identified De Gea as the perfect long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar and the Premier League champions have been talking to the Spaniard for several weeks about a move.

De Gea had suggested he will wait until the end of June before making a decision but Goal.com understands the Red Devils are expecting to land their man within a week of the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 28.

“We know the keeper we want and are in a good position, and I'm sure we can get the deal done,” said chief executive David Gill last Sunday.

He was talking about De Gea, 20, who has indicated he feels the opportunity to join United is too good to turn down and is ready to reject a new contract offer from Atletico, where his current deal expires in 2013.

A deal worth £17.5m has been agreed in principal with United for some time and Ferguson is convinced the Spain under-21 international has the ability to be the club's No.1 for many years.

The Scot even missed United's League Cup win at Scunthorpe earlier this season to watch De Gea in action and has continued his pursuit despite goalkeeping coach Erik Steel's preference for Schalke's Manuel Neuer, who is close to a move to Bayern Munich.

Further indication that United are close to signing to De Gea is provided by the fact the representatives of Maarten Stekelenburg have accepted the Ajax goalkeeper is going to miss out on his dream move and are now encouraging talks with other clubs.

Ferguson spoke earlier this week about his desire to sign three players in the summer transfer window, with a goalkeeper his most pressing concern as 40-year-old Van der Sar is retiring at the end of the season.

De Gea, who has been compared to Real Madrid and Spain keeper Iker Casillas, broke into the Atletico side in 2009 before helping the club to win the Europa League last season and the Uefa Super Cup in August.

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