Manchester United are reportedly set to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton on a free transfer in the coming weeks, meaning mass changes could occur at Old Trafford this summer.
What’s the story?
According to well-known journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the 35-year-old shot-stopper is set to re-join his boyhood club after a disappointing spell at Villa Park.
Romano claims that Heaton is scheduled to undergo a medical with the Old Trafford outfit before signing a contract until 2023 with the option of a one-year extension.
De Gea needs to watch out
United’s goalkeeping conundrum has rumbled on for several seasons now, with David de Gea’s steady decline since the 2018 World Cup causing several major talking points.
The Spain international has made multiple high-profile mistakes between the sticks for the 20-time English champions over the last few campaigns, and the emergence of Dean Henderson has only served to add more cause for debate.
De Gea returned to his homeland for personal reasons midway through 2020/21, meaning the young keeper had a chance to impress between in the starting XI week in week out.
However, Henderson failed to take his chance, making a string of errors, including a horrendous performance against United’s bitter rivals Liverpool.
With the Red Devils looking to regain their spot at the summit of the Premier League, addressing their goalkeeping problem is expected to be high up on Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s priority list this summer, and the potential arrival of Heaton could spell bad news for their current crop of keepers.
The Villa man is highly unlikely to come in and be United’s No.1, given he spent the entire 2020/21 campaign playing understudy to Emiliano Martinez, but his addition will leave Solksjaer with four shot-stoppers to choose from.
Sergio Romero is set to depart, while the £19.8 million rated De Gea (as per Transfermarkt) and England international Henderson will either fight it out to be first-choice, or both face the axe, leaving to door open for a new, top-quality goalkeeper to make his mark at Old Trafford.
It could bring an end to De Gea’s ten-year stay at United, where he’s won one Premier League title, one FA Cup, one League Cup and a Europa League crown, and mark a new chapter in the club’s eventful goalkeeping history.
By bringing in Heaton, United now have an adequate backup goalkeeper to Henderson if they do decide to move on from De Gea, and after his recent performances, that would not come as a shock at all.