Manchester United are facing the possibility of losing goalkeeper David de Gea this summer after Dean Henderson’s rise to prominence at Old Trafford. The former Sheffield United loanee has stolen his team-mate’s starting spot with a number of impressive performances between the sticks.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s decision to stick with Henderson has thrown De Gea’s future into doubt, with the experienced stopper unlikely to be keen on playing a bit-part role next season.
A handful of clubs have been linked with his services in recent weeks, including Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
It seems as though United have already started planning for life after De Gea, with club chiefs exploring a number of avenues ahead of the summer transfer window.
West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone, who came through the academy at Old Trafford and was sold in 2018, has been earmarked as a potential replacement.
The 28-year-old has been one of the few shining lights for the Baggies this season, consistently turning heads with his shot-stopping ability as the last line of defence.
However, it has been suggested that Johnstone could decide to snub the possibility of a return to his old stomping ground.
He would prefer a move to West Ham United, according to the Daily Star, with the east London club aiming to replace veteran goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in time for next season.
The report claims that Johnstone’s stance on rejoining United has forced the Red Devils to look elsewhere, with club chiefs identifying another former player as a potential solution to their De Gea dilemma.
Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton is said to be near the top of Solskjaer’s wish list despite the 35-year-old failing to make a Premier League appearance for more than 16 months.
The former Burnley man struggled with a long-term knee injury for the vast majority of last year, before returning to the first-team setup in December.
He has been named among the substitutes in every Premier League match since, with Emiliano Martinez keeping a firm grip on the starting berth at Villa.
It is claimed that Heaton would be more than happy to deputise for Henderson at United, with the club able to secure a proven back-up option by pursuing a move for the former England international.
Although Henderson has won over Solskjaer’s trust in recent months, the Norwegian boss recently hinted at a return to action for De Gea between now and the end of the season.
“Both of them are important, all of them want to play,” Solskjaer told reporters last month.
“It’s the same for [the club’s other goalkeepers] Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop and Sergio Romero. They want to play and that’s a competition I like.
“David has been a top, top keeper and he still is. He’s working to be ready when he plays.
“If it’s Dean or David, I’m very comfortable with both of them, and I’m very happy that none of them are happy to not play.”