Nottingham Forest are continuing to pursue Dean Henderson‘s services despite the recent signing of Matt Turner from Arsenal.
Henderson has been Forest’s primary target for the number one slot this summer, with the goalkeeper’s long-standing injury and Manchester United’s goalkeeping revolving door hindering the move.
Forest reportedly agreed terms with Henderson early on in the summer following his season-long loan at the club. The coaching staff at the City Ground were said to be impressed with Henderson’s attitude and leadership, as well as his commitment to Forest, even after his long-term injury ruled him out of their season.
He continued to be a regular attendee at the training ground and stadium despite his thigh injury, fully embracing his adopted side as his own.
With United keen to buttress their summer spending by selling unwanted players, Henderson’s departure from Old Trafford had seemed a formality. The sudden change in heart over David De Gea’s future left a number one-sized hole in the squad, however, which inhibited this move.
Erik ten Hag was reportedly unwilling to let Henderson leave United at the same time as De Gea, without first securing his first-choice target, Andre Onana, in his place.
Following confirmation of the Cameroonian as the new number one (or number twenty-four to be more accurate), negotiations resumed between United and Forest. The Nottinghamshire club were thought, at that point, to be pushing for a loan move with an obligation to buy; a style of deal Old Trafford officials were seemingly unwilling to commit to.
Forest would quickly change tact and successfully close a deal for Turner for around £10 million, suggesting a move for Henderson was no longer a priority.
An injury to Tom Heaton, United’s number two for the season, further compounded this view, with Ten Hag including Henderson on the bench against Wolves. This was Henderson’s first appearance in the matchday squad in over eighteen months
The Dutchman described how the English goalkeeper was “always” in his mind as an option this season; a move to Forest now seemingly completely off the table.
A further twist in the tale of this protracted transfer saga came last night, however, with Alan Tate, Forest’s assistant manager, reportedly making contact with John Murtough – United’s Footballing Director – about Henderson.
Samuel Luckhurst reports the goalkeeper still “wants to leave” Old Trafford this summer and the re-opening of dialogue between officials at both clubs suggests Forest are similarly minded.
Whether Ten Hag will be comfortable allowing Henderson to leave without first securing a viable option as number two is another story however.
This prospective deal appears one which will continue late into the window.