Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Tom Heaton from Aston Villa on a free transfer. The Englishman will replace Sergio Romero, who will surely leave Old Trafford as his contract expires this summer.
Heaton spent eight years with the Red Devils, having come through the club’s youth setup. But he failed to make a single first-team appearance for the club. After a series of loan spells, he finally left the Theatre of Dreams in 2010.
The Red Devils handed the Premier League title to their rivals Manchester City after losing 2-1 to Leicester City at home yesterday. And manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows the importance of the upcoming transfer window, as he looks to mount a serious title challenge to their noisy neighbours and others next season.
The Glazers will completely back Solskjaer in the summer window, despite the unrest among fans regarding their ownership. They will see this as an opportunity to appease the fans.
United to sign Heaton:
The goalkeeper position is not Solskjaer’s main priority this summer. He would want to resolve any goalkeeping situation before he can focus on his main targets, which at the moment seems to be in central-defence and in a right-wing position.
And according to The Telegraph, the club are ready to act quickly and sign Heaton on a free transfer this summer. The 35-year-old shot-stopper suffered a ligament injury which kept him out for 11 months. And he will likely be the third-choice keeper at Old Trafford behind Dean Henderson and David De Gea, though the Spaniard’s future at the club still remains unclear.
The signing of Heaton would be very uninspiring as he has not made a single appearance this season for Villa. But with both Sergio Romero and Lee Grant expected to leave the club at the end of the season, Solskjaer wants someone who has Premier League appearance. Heaton has made over 70 league appearances for Villa and Burnley across four campaigns.
As previously reported, United were also keen on signing another academy graduate in Sam Johnstone. But his club West Bromwich Albion would likely ask around £20 million for his services. As a result, United pulled out from any potential deal and will now sign a free agent in Heaton.
Goalkeeping stance at United
As said, United have a healthy competition for the goalkeeping spot. The club brought back Dean Henderson from Sheffield United at the start of the season and tied him to a new deal. The Englishman initially started only in the cup competitions, with club legend David De Gea the preferred choice in the league and in the Champions League.
But since December, De Gea has fallen out of favour, with Henderson now starting the league games. And now it seems the 30-year-old keeper will not settle for the number two position at the club and will ask for a move this summer.
United will accept a reasonable offer for De Gea. But it’s unlikely any club will be able to afford his astronomical wages, which currently stands at £375,000-a-week. The former Atletico Madrid man will have to take a pay-cut to move clubs this summer.
If De Gea leaves, Heaton can become the number two keeper at United, with Henderson keeping his place as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.