David de Gea has set himself a United wish-list that includes a formidable ambition – he wants to better Edwin Van der Sar’s Old Trafford efforts.

The young Spaniard officially became a Red yesterday when a fee of around £18m was agreed with his former club Atletico Madrid and he penned a five-year contract with the champions.

The length of the deal is just 12 months shorter than the time United’s ex-Dutch number one Van der Sar spent in Manchester.

He arrived at Old Trafford prior to the transitional 2005-06 campaign when the club was rocked by internal strife which eventually led to the controversial exits of Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s side still managed to finish second and acquire the Carling Cup.

Three Premier League titles on the bounce followed in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and a fourth on his CV was claimed in May as he retired.

A Champions League win and two Euro finals and an FA Cup final were also on his illustrious United record. Van der Sar made his professional debut for Ajax in 1990 just a week before De Gea was born. Like the Spanish Under-21 keeper, he was 20 when he hit the big time.

He became a Champions League winner with the Dutch club inside five years of his career starting.

But United’s confident new boy is comfortable that he’s got the background and ability to challenge Van der Sar’s stellar achievements.

“In my opinion, Edwin has been the best goalkeeper in the world while here at United,” he said.

“I hope to emulate him and spend a great number of years here and, hopefully, equal or even surpass the performance and contribution he made to the club.

“I am young but I’m coming here on the back of two full seasons in La Liga in Spain, so I think I’ve got enough experience to contribute to such a big club as United and I’m planning to work extremely hard and do the best I can.

“I feel proud. Obviously, I am keen to start and it’s a great privilege to be part of a club like United and I’m keen to do my best and show what I can do. When a club the size of Manchester United comes in for you it obviously makes you very very happy.

“I saw their interest as an extra motivation to work even harder to show off my ability and now here I am.”

Van der Sar had played in Holland and Italy before his first experience of England playing with Fulham.

He had four seasons at Craven Cottage soaking up the Premier League challenge before moving to United.

The non-English speaking De Gea will be thrust into the limelight and a new style of play with just two years of senior football behind him. But he is looking to learn the ropes swiftly.

“I think there are differences between the Premier League and La Liga,” added De Gea.

“The Premier League is known to be a more physical style of play. There’s a lot of high balls and a lot of play in the air but I do hope to adapt to that fairly quickly and with my own style I hope to contribute to it being an all-round success.”

And the objective is for an instant Premier League and European double to get his United career up and running.

“Everybody wants to win the Premier League. That’s no different from me, I’d like to do that,” he said.

“But I think also to aim to win the Champions League is realistic and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Having only just ended his 2010-11 campaign last weekend when he won the European Under-21 Championship with Spain in Denmark, De Gea is now enjoying a break and will join his new Old Trafford colleagues late on the club’s  pre-season tour of America.

But he’s already itching to get back to start work.

“The manager seemed to say to me that I should enjoy the holiday I’ve been afforded now but, of course, I’m more excited about getting started training and meeting my future team-mates,” De Gea added.

“I want to get on and learn as much as I can about them and from them as possible and to start training.”

Fergie identified De Gea as the man to ensure the Reds avoid a repeat of their post-Peter Schmeichel traumas.

In the first nine matches following the great Dane’s departure in 1999, Fergie used three different goalkeepers.

Mark Bosnich arrived on a free transfer and was the first to be handed Schmeichel’s gloves. But four matches into the season he suffered a hamstring injury and Raimond van der Gouw took over before the Reds recruited the gaffe-prone Massimo Taibi from Venezia for £4.5m.

It wasn’t until Van der Sar arrived in Stretford six years later that real stability was restored.

The Dutch newcomer made an impressive start with seven clean sheets in his first nine matches.

De Gea’s first major challenge is set to be at Wembley in the Community Shield against City.