Premier League • England

Man Utd beaten by Brentford in race to grant goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha ‘dream’ move

Thomas Strakosha held aloft by his Lazio teammates

Manchester United are reportedly set to miss out to Brentford following talks over a deal for free-agent goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.

The 19-times capped Albania keeper has spent his entire senior career in Italy, making 208 appearances for Lazio and 13 during an earlier loan spell with Salernitana. However, his time in the Italian capital came to an end this summer with his contract expiring.

He was subsequently linked with newly promoted Fulham, who are instead looking at Arsenal’s Bernd Leno now. Reports have since claimed Strakosha is instead in talks over a move to Manchester United to become a back-up goalkeeper to David De Gea.

United have allowed Dean Henderson to depart for Nottingham Forest and are seeking a new No.2. Strakosha may fit the bill, with his free-transfer capture making plenty of sense.

He became accustomed to sharing goalkeeping responsibilities over the past couple of years at Lazio with ex-Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina. His days of being an out-and-out number one seemed to be up, meaning a move to Man Utd as De Gea’s deputy may have appealed.

However, trusted transfer guru Fabrizio Romano claims Strakosha is closing instead on a move to Brentford. They have reached an agreement with the 27-year-old.

Romano tweeted on Monday morning: “Brentford FC are set to sign Thomas Strakosha on free transfer. It’s agreed and set to be completed with medical tests now ongoing, here we go.

“Strakosha left Lazio as free agent and he’s now heading to Premier League, his biggest dream.”

That will leave Man Utd considering another option to provide cover for De Gea. Meanwhile, Strakohsa will be competing with David Raya for the starting berth at Brentford.

Thomas Strakosha spots Brentford area of need

Last season, Barcelona-born Raya did well to concede only 27 goals from 24 Premier League appearances after Brentford’s promotion to the top-flight.

His only deputy at present is the 22-year-old Ellery Balcombe, who spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Burton Albion and then Bromley. Last season, Brentford had Alvaro Fernandez and Jonas Lossl on loan in goal, but neither remain at the club.

Hence, they clearly need more competition for Raya. Strakosha could be more than that, instead acting as his equal. It would make for an interesting sharing of responsibilities at the Brentford Community Stadium next term.

Strakosha could become Brentford’s third signing of the summer. They have already acquired Aaron Hickey from Bologna and have booked Hull City starlet Keane Lewis-Potter in for a medical on Monday.

Meanwhile, Man Utd will be looking elsewhere if Strakosha does indeed sign up in west London. They have Tom Heaton on the books as a third-choice goalkeeper, but are looking for someone to place in between him and main starter De Gea in their goalkeeping hierarchy.

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