Manchester United could consider upgrading their goalkeeping department after embarking on another scouting mission for FC Porto’s Diogo Costa, according to reports in Portugal.
There was a changing of the guard in goal for Man Utd over the summer, when David de Gea reached the end of his contract and Jack Butland’s loan spell from Crystal Palace expired. In turn, the Red Devils invested in Andre Onana as their new no.1 and Altay Bayindir as the new man to provide competition.
Onana arrived on the back of an impressive season with Inter, which culminated in a Champions League runners-up medal. Furthermore, he already knew manager Erik ten Hag from their time together at Ajax.
However, Onana’s start to life at Old Trafford has been plagued by inconsistency. Things could be heading in the right direction after his recent penalty save against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League, but it has not stopped A Bola claiming a new goalkeeper could be on the agenda already for Man Utd.
The Portuguese source suggests it is one of the positions Man Utd might want to upgrade in January to salvage something from their season. Whether that means Onana or Bayindir are at risk of leaving already is unclear, but the target mentioned by the report is Costa.
Man Utd already thought about signing Portugal’s no.1 before, but eventually put their eggs in the Onana basket. It is claimed, though, that they have since been to watch Costa again.
A Man Utd representative is reported to have taken in Porto’s 2-0 away win at Vizela on Sunday, in which Costa started and kept a clean sheet. They have now been able to add to their ‘already extensive’ reports about the player’s profile.
According to A Bola, Costa is the ‘best-placed’ option to take over from Onana in the Man Utd goal. However, in order to sign him, they will have to meet the €75m (£65m) release clause in his Porto contract, which his current employers are referring back to.
The 24-year-old is under contract with Porto until 2027, having developed in their own system. At senior level, he has played in 122 matches for them; against Vizela, he kept his 50th clean sheet in Porto colours.
Porto, like Man Utd, are involved in the Champions League this season. Costa has even captained Sergio Conceicao’s side on a handful of occasions this season.
His future could lie elsewhere, though, since Man Utd are planning further visits to observe him. The report concludes that they could open negotiations with Porto either in January or at the end of the season.
Man Utd might be better off waiting for the summer
Perhaps a summer swoop would be more likely, when Man Utd have had more time to assess the situation. Obviously, their form towards the start of the season, has had them panicking, but if they can hold on until the end of the season, they might be able to make a more rational judgement.
It is worth noting that Onana, Bayindir and Costa were all regular starters for Inter, Fenerbahce and Porto last season. Therefore, it would not make sense for Man Utd to have all three of them at the same time, since only one of them could play at once.
But Costa is quickly establishing himself as a high-pedigree goalkeeper, usurping Roma man Rui Patricio as Portugal’s main shot-stopper in time for the 2022 World Cup, and if Man Utd don’t get him, someone else might.
Costa already has at least one fan at Old Trafford in the playing squad, since his compatriot Bruno Fernandes declared him a ‘giant’ via social media after one of his performances at the World Cup in Qatar.