Departing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes says he has not made up his mind where he will play next season, while suggesting it is unlikely he will make his decision public until the end of the current campaign.
The Spain international goalkeeper has made up his mind to leave the Camp Nou when his contract ends in June, and has been heavily rumoured to have already agreed to join big-spending Ligue 1 outfit Monaco, with Arsenal and Manchester City also thought to be keen to pick up a three-time Champions League winner on a free transfer.
Valdes, who turns 32 in January, told a news conference after Barca training on Friday morning that he was currently looking at his options, and in no rush to make a final choice.
"There are things on the table, but I have not yet decided anything," Valdes said. "It depends on a lot of things. We will see, what is important for me is to respect Barcelona until the end. I will not make public anything while we are playing in important competitions because that could be negative. There will be time. The important thing is that we win the trophies we want."
Asked directly if he had talked to Monaco about playing there, Valdes deflected the question.
"My agent looks after that," he said. "There is nothing decided yet, I can only tell you that."
Barca are reportedly currently scanning the market for replacements, with Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen reportedly their number one choice, and other potential candidates including Pepe Reina, Thibaut Courtois and David De Gea regularly popping up in speculation.
La Masia graduate Valdes said his preference would be for the club to promote a youngster from their youth sides, but he accepted that might not be possible.
"My wish is for Barca to sign the best keeper," he said. "I would be very happy if it was someone from in-house, but the coaches must make their decisions. I will respect whatever they do."
Currently sidelined due to an injury picked up during Spain’s 1-0 friendly loss in South Africa in early November, Valdes said he hoped to be back for Barcelona’s first game of 2014 -- at home to Elche on Jan. 5.
"I am looking forward to returning," he said. "I hope it will be against Elche, if the boss wants it."
The long-serving keeper declined to comment on a brewing row between Blaugrana vice-president Javier Faus and the team’s star Lionel Messi, but did say that Barca’s players needed to be protected better from the mood of negativity around the club.
"I will not get into that," Valdes said. "It has nothing to do with me. But I do not believe it will affect the dressing-room. We just play and try to win. I do not like to get into debates. But I like to defend my people.
"We should all row in the same direction. It seems that at the moment everything is negative at Barca. There is a ‘machine’ in a negative sense. Not just with the stars. It influences everyone. Either we begin to protect ourselves or this will not go well. I hope that we can pick up on a positive mood helped by the team's winning run."