Goalkeeper is one of the few positions in which struggling Manchester United do not have problems at the moment and yet a number of reports claim the club is busy trying to fix what isn’t broken.
Goalkeeper David de Gea must be one of the favourites to win Manchester United’s player of the year award this season and he has a fantastic Premier League standard backup in Dean Henderson.
And yet with two months still left on this season’s calendar, reports claim that United are in for a new first choice keeper – Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou, and a new backup keeper – either West Brom’s Sam Johnstone or Dundee United’s Benjamin Siegrist.
The replacement of Henderson is easier to explain. The 25 year old expected to be United’s first choice keeper this term after proving more reliable than De Gea in 2020/21. But his absence due to long Covid at the start of the season allowed the Spaniard to reclaim his spot and Henderson has been left warming the bench ever since.
As a result, it is understood that the ambitious Cumbrian asked to leave in January, a request that was denied, but the club may be set to grant him his wish in the summer.
In that light, pursuit of 28-year-old academy graduate Johnstone or 30-year-old Siegrist, as reported by The Sun, makes sense.
However, The Mirror claims that United are pursuing Bounou as a replacement for De Gea.
‘United have been watching Bounou for several months and are understood to have asked to be kept abreast of his situation at his club,’ the outlet reports.
‘Bounou, 29, has two years to run on his deal with Sevilla from the end of this season and it will cost around £25million to trigger the release clause in that contract.
‘Sevilla’s directors are aware of interest in their keeper and they are keen to extend his deal for a further two years. In any new deal, they would insert a release clause of around £63m.’
The article goes on to say that the Red Devils are considering ‘cashing in’ on De Gea with only 18 months left of his contract. However, the club does have the option to trigger an extra year, taking the deal to June 2024.
It is a curious development. If De Gea really is set to leave, then the pursuit of Bounou can only mean that the club does not believe Henderson has what it takes to fill his boots. This would almost certainly mean curtains for the Englishman this summer, no matter what the fate of the Spaniard.