De Gea has yet to feature for United in pre-season and it is widely understood that the club are resigned to losing the Spaniard to Real Madrid, if not this summer then next.
The 24-year-old has one year left on his current deal at Old Trafford and is not expected to sign a new deal with the Red Devils, although any move back to the Spanish capital is currently in limbo with United adamant he can only leave if they receive Spanish international defender Sergio Ramos as part of the deal in return.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Van Gaal revealed he expects to have De Gea for United’s first Premier League game of the season against Tottenham on August 8 and that the Spaniard will play in Santa Clara as he works his way back to fitness.
“When a player is injured it’s the same thing you have to wait in the season,” Van Gaal said.
“I give players time to recover and build up their fitness. It’s still possible he’ll be ready to start the season against Spurs because he shall play tomorrow.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger will not feature against Barcelona after picking up a minor injury but Van Gaal revealed the eleven that do start will bear a strong resemblance to the side which will face Spurs in two weeks.
“Bastian shall not play because he had a little injury,” Van Gaal confirmed. “He has a minor issue. I don’t take risks in preparation & he doesn’t either. It’s not serious.
“I shall play with the line-up I think we could play against Spurs. We play the first half with players for 60 minutes. I have to make a selection now.
“Those who play 60 minutes are more likely to play against Tottenham.”