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Manchester United title ambitions hinge on keeping David de Gea, says Herrera

Ander Herrera says it is vital that Manchester United do not sell David de Gea as the Spaniard believes his countryman’s departure to Real Madrid would dent the club’s title prospects.

On Sunday José Mourinho’s side play their fourth pre-season tour game in San Jose against Real, who United believe are preparing to make a serious offer for De Gea.

The 26-year-old nearly joined the Spanish club two years ago before the transfer collapsed on the final day of the 2015 summer window. United are bracing themselves for Real to try again and prise their No1 – who has made 200 appearances for them – away again in the current window.

Herrera says De Gea’s ability means he is worth what might be vital points in this season’s title race. “If you lose the top three in any position, like David is, like [Paul] Pogba is, like Romelu Lukaku is, like Marcus Rashford can be, it is a great loss,” Herrera said. “We don’t want to lose them, we want to keep them, and David is in the top three. For me, he’s the best in the world, so I want to keep him here at United.

“He is a goalkeeper who can give you points. That is very important. I want to keep him here, to play with him, because he’s a fantastic keeper and also my friend, and I think you can see he’s very focused on Manchester United.”

United finished sixth last season in the Premier League but gained entry to the Champions League by winning the Europa League. Mourinho’s side also claimed the EFL Cup.

“Last season we won three trophies, but we didn’t fight for the nicest one, the Premier League,” said Herrera. “It’s not going to be easy to win three trophies [including the Community Shield] again this coming season, because that’s very difficult, but we are just going to go game by game, we don’t want to look too far forward, that’s not intelligent.

Mourinho has so far added Lukaku and Victor Lindelof to a squad Herrera believes is already strong. “Last season we had players to take us to the next level, that’s why we won three trophies. But we want to fight for the Premier League. I think we had a very good season, a successful season, the last game was a really important game [winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League], but we won it, so we can say we had a very good season.

“I don’t like to compare the players between last season and this one, just that we have the same ideas, the same manager, we are going to work the same way, but the draws we had at home, we have to improve that.”