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Close to signing £18.3m David de Gea after Atletico Madrid goalkeeper flies in to complete move


David de Gea is set to complete his £18.3 million transfer from Atlético Madrid to Manchester United on Tuesday after flying into Manchester to undergo a medical on Monday.

Goalkeeper De Gea, who helped Spain to success in the European Under-21 Championship in Denmark earlier this month, will take United’s summer spending to £49.8 million after being identified by Sir Alex Ferguson as the successor to Edwin van der Sar, who retired at the end of last season.

Despite attempts by United to keep De Gea’s arrival in Manchester under wraps by hiding the 20 year-old behind a blanket as he entered the Bridgewater Hospital for his medical on Monday afternoon, his capture was heralded by Ferguson last month, with the United manager confirming in May that a deal had been thrashed out for the highly-rated youngster.

Ferguson is determined to add at least one further signing to his squad before the start of the new season, with interest in Wesley Sneijder and Samir Nasri expected to result in a bid for at least one of those players.

Having been on international duty with Spain’s Under-21s until last Saturday, De Gea is expected to take a short break and miss the start of pre-season training at Carrington next Monday.

But with Ferguson determined to assimilate De Gea into his squad quickly in order to build a relationship with his defensive team-mates, the Spaniard is set to fly out to the United States with the rest of the team when the club embark on their five-game tour of the USA on July 11.

Javier Hernández , United’s Mexican forward, is set to be shielded from a return to action until Paul Scholes’s testimonial against New York Cosmos at Old Trafford on August 5 after being handed a three-week break by Ferguson following his exploits with Mexico, who beat United States 4-2 on Saturday to win the Gold Cup.

Hernández played a crucial role in Mexico’s success, scoring seven goals in the tournament. He is expected to link up with his United team-mates while on tour in order to begin his pre-season training.

But with Ferguson determined to avoid the risk of the 22 year-old suffering from burn-out, tour organisers and sponsors have been warned not to expect Hernández to play in any of the tour games, including the prestigious friendly against Barcelona in Maryland on July 31.

United’s England Under-21 contingent of Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and £16.5 million signing Phil Jones have also been given extended breaks following international duty, with the quartet due to miss the opening tour game against New England Revolution in Boston on July 13 before arriving in Seattle for the second-leg of the tour on July 15.

Meanwhile, Manchester City remain confident of their prospects of signing Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez, despite the Chilean’s admission that a move to Barcelona would be his ‘dream.’ Sanchez, 22, is City manager Roberto Mancini’s leading target this summer, but senior figures at Eastlands have accepted that the youngster’s first option is a move to the Nou Camp.

Barcelona’s determination to cut costs, however, and limit their expenditure on players this summer to £40 million has raised hopes at City that the European champions will be forced to abandon their pursuit of Sanchez in order to focus their attentions on luring Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal.

Despite City’s determination to meet Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations, which begin to take effect from the 2011-12 season, the £30 million-rated Sanchez would fit within their current financial parameters.

Attempts to offload high-earning fringe players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge have so far failed to bear fruit, but the club believe that movement will accelerate in the final month on the transfer window in August.

Mancini, who is also targeting Fiorentina midfielder Alessio Cerci and Partizan Belgrade defender Stefan Savic, has yet to add to his squad since guiding City into the Champions League last season.

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