David de Gea and Sergio Romero are “equally important” to Manchester United and will not be allowed to leave the club, manager Jose Mourinho has insisted.
The post-Sir Alex Ferguson era teething problems could have been so much worse were it not for the inspired form of De Gea, whose performances have led to him being crowned United’s Player of the Year for the past three seasons.
Such form has done little to cool reports of interest from Real Madrid – a club he was on the brink of joining in 2015, only for the transfer to collapse on deadline day in Spain.
Back-up Romero has also been linked with a move this week, as Boca Juniors in his native Argentina are apparently keen, but Mourinho wants to keep both goalkeepers at Old Trafford.
“What I can say is that I expect both to stay because I think both are equally important,” the United boss said.
“I cannot have a better goalkeeper than David. I cannot have a better replacement than Sergio, I cannot have a better professional than Sergio.
“I want them both to stay.
“So if there is something true in relation to Boca, I will try to stop it because I want Sergio to stay.”
Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin have been allowed to leave Old Trafford this month, while speculation continues over the immediate futures of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ashley Young.
Luke Shaw’s place is also under scrutiny with speculation that a summer exit could be on the cards, having endured a stop-start comeback season from a horrific double leg break.
The 21-year-old has not featured since limping off in the against West Ham on November 30 in their EFL Cup quarter-final – a competition he could make his return in at the semi-final juncture in Hull on Thursday.
Fit-again Shaw was not in the squad for last weekend’s draw with Liverpool and could well be omitted again at Stoke on Saturday, with Mourinho having preferred other options.
Asked if the injury issues were why the England international was not in recent squads, Mourinho said: “Of course. That’s basic.
“You try to have in the squad the players with more minutes, the players in better shape, the players in better conditions.
“And in Luke Shaw’s case, even in the game where he was ready to play and to start the game and to have again 90 minutes against Reading, on the morning of the game he was ill and not ready to play.
“So even in that match that could be a good match for him to be back, he was not able to so he’s having a difficult period.”