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28 June 2011, 10:03
Athletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea's expected to be confirmed as United's third summer signing in the next 24 hours.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has wasted little time in setting about his task of rebuilding his squad having brought in Blackburn's England Under-21 Phil Jones to add depth to his defence and Aston Villa's Ashley Young to bring more attacking impetus to midfield, the Red Devils boss is arguably on the verge of completing the most key signing.
De Gea, a European Championship winner with Spain's Under-21s on Saturday, is the man chosen to fill the void left by veteran Edwin van der Sar's retirement and is thought to have had a medical in Manchester yesterday.
The expected completion of the 20-year-old's transfer, for a reported £17million, will push Ferguson's spending in June close to £50million.
The Scot's recruitment of goalkeepers has not always been the best, with some notable outstanding successes but plenty of signings who have very quickly fallen by the wayside.
Having failed early on with Jim Leighton, Mark Bosnich and Les Sealey, he recruited Peter Schmeichel from Brondby for £550,000 in 1991 and the Denmark international went on to become one of the club's greatest goalkeepers and certainly the best of the Premier League era.
However, the search for his replacement began in 1996 and did not find someone worthy of being placed in the same bracket as Schmeichel until Van der Sar was recruited from Fulham nine years later.
In that time the likes of Tony Coton, Raimond van der Gouw, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Roy Carroll, Ricardo, Tim Howard and Ben Foster were all recruited but failed to deliver the consistency Ferguson was hoping for.
The arrival of De Gea adds instant quality with the promise of the realisation of greater potential.
Such is the Spaniard's reputation that compatriot and Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, who seems likely to face De Gea when the north-west rivals clash at Anfield on October 15, reacted positively to the player's move.
'I very much welcome this news because David is a great keeper,
'When it becomes official he is going to start working to prove in the Premier League what a good goalkeeper he is.'
Following the retirements of Van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville from last season Ferguson has moved quickly to strengthen in three areas, bringing in players who all - in theory - should have their best years ahead of them.
The Red Devils boss is believed to want to add more creativity to his midfield and has been linked with Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder and Arsenal's Samir Nasri.