Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has emphatically rejected reports regarding a dramatic deterioration in his relationship with manager Louis van Gaal as "lies".
De Gea has been arguably the club's most impressively consistent performer throughout Van Gaal's short tenure at Old Trafford to date, yet speculation that surfaced earlier in February suggested the two men had not spoken to each other in months amid transfer speculation linking the highly rated Spaniard with a move to Real Madrid.
The 24-year-old, who initially struggled to cope with the physicality of the Premier League when he first joined Manchester United from Atletico in 2011, has been quick to dismiss those claims, however, and insists he is currently enjoying the best form of his fledgling career.
"Everything that has been written in the press about us not getting on is a lie," De Gea told the club's official website. "We both want the best for the club and the team, and the stories are complete lies.
"I think this is the best period of my career. I am playing the best football that I've ever played. I'm really enjoying it at the moment and I'm just trying to improve with every training session and every game that goes by, giving 100% and concentrating to the maximum. That's the way I want to continue."
Concerned United supports will be pleased
Such words will come as a great source of relief to Manchester United supporters, many of whom may have been growing slightly concerned at the lack of progress with regards to talks over a new long-term deal for De Gea and the constant rumours that he could be tempted by a lucrative switch back to La Liga.
Although the player stopped short of offering any concrete assurances over his future, his rapid improvement during his time in England would suggest he is comfortable in his current surroundings.
Van Gaal does have a reputation as somewhat of a prickly character and although he did opt to bring former Barcelona stalwart Victor Valdes to the club in January, he would surely not be content to lose a player of De Gea's calibre.
Manchester United, who were beaten 2-1 by Swansea on 21 February and who face a home encounter against Gus Poyet's struggling Sunderland on 28 February, sit fourth in the Premier League table and are on track to return to the Champions League at the first time of asking following a disappointing one-year absence.