The 33-year-old Spaniard was signed on a free contract in January having trained with the squad for a few months after being invited to the club by Van Gaal in order to rehabilitate his on-going knee injury.
Despite being fit for a long time, Valdes had to wait until last weekend’s game against Arsenal to get his senior debut after David de Gea went off with an injury.
Much has been said about whether Valdes has the ability to replace De Gea if he joined Real Madrid this summer and when asked the question by reporters at this afternoon’s press conference, Van Gaal was unequivocal in his response.
“Of course that is the case, otherwise he wouldn’t be here,” Van Gaal said.
In his prime at Barcelona, Valdes was a great goalkeeper who was more than confident in playing out from the back with the ball, a strength which Van Gaal no doubt wants in his goalkeepers.
While the thought of replacing De Gea is hard for United fans to stomach, they can take solace in the fact that he’ll be replaced by a keeper with genuine world class ability which is something United struggled to do after Peter Schmeichel left the club.