May 18, 2015 (Sporting Alert) — Manchester United will make a move for Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen if David de Gea decides to leave for Real Madrid at the end of the season, according to sources.
De Gea has been strongly linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu, with several media outlets in Spain even going as far as saying the 24-year-old has already agreed personal terms.
United manager Louis van Gaal hinted that De Gea could be on his way to the La Liga giants, as there’s nothing more he and the club can do to persuade the former Atletico Madrid man to stay.
The Dutch coach noted that the Red Devils has already put the necessary plans in place to bring in a suitable replacement.
And it is understood that Cillessen, who was the Netherlands’ No. 1 at the FIFA World Cup last summer, has emerged as the new favourite to take over the shot-stopping duties at the Premier League outfits.
The 26-year-old played a solid role in helping Holland to third place in Brazil and Van Gaal reportedly wants his fellow countryman on board.
Highly-rated goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek is also believed to be a huge admirer of Cillessen and would welcome the chance to work with him.
Cillessen finished the season tied with Jeroen Zoet of PSV Eindhoven for the most shutout in the Eredivisie with 12, while finishing second in goals against (26), at an average of 0.81.
He played 2880 minutes on the season and collected 116 saves from the 141 shots he faced in the campaign.
Ajax are well aware of Manchester United interest and have no intentions of selling the man who was only recently voted as the club’s player of the year for the 2014-15 season.
“Certainly not,” said manager Frank de Boer referring to questions about a possible move away for his No. 1.
“I can imagine that after Euro 2016, when Orange qualifies for it, maybe he see’s a nice challenge elsewhere.
“But for now, his heart still lies entirely in Ajax.”
De Boer was also quick to shower praises on Cillessen – claiming that he had the ability to be as good as former Holland and Manchester United No. 1 Edwin van der Sar, as well as Germany and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, who is regarded as the best keeper in the world these days.
“He’s one of the few who has run a very good and consistent season. He is actually the only one,” added De Boer after Ajax finished 17 points being champions PSV Eindhoven in the league standings.
“Can he reach the level of world goalkeepers as Edwin van der Sar and Manuel Neuer? I think he can get very close.”
Cillessen has odds of 16/1 to join Manchester United before the end of the transfer window, according to Sky Bet.