Exit fears for senior Man Utd star grow as difference of opinion emerges; Ten Hag lines up imposing replacement

Man Utd stars Casemiro, David de Gea and Bruno Fernandes

A senior Man Utd star is trending towards an exit at season’s end after delivering a coy response to his contract standoff, while a third source has echoed claims Erik ten Hag is lining up a replacement from Spain.

The one constant at Man Utd over the last decade has been between the sticks. By and large, David de Gea has been an exceptional performer for the Red Devils, though his future at Old Trafford is in serious doubt.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at season’s end. There remains a one-year option United can trigger, though the club would much rather tie De Gea down to a longer-term deal than take the short-term route.

However, there have always been nagging doubts as to whether De Gea is actually suited to a Ten Hag team.

Indeed, the Dutchman favours a possession-based game that requires his goalkeeper to be comfortable on the ball and adopt a high starting position. De Gea is imperious with the gloves, though less so with his feet.

Furthermore, De Gea is United’s highest earner, pocketing around £375,000-a-week. United have implemented a so-called ‘Ronaldo rule’ that will ideally see no player earn more than £200,000-a-week. The idea is to foster greater team harmony through removing such a sizeable divide in salaries in the dressing room.

Talks between United and De Gea’s camp had taken place in March. However, the Athletic reported United’s first offer was rebuffed by De Gea. Per the Mirror, the reason why was the vast pay-cut De Gea was expected to absorb.

The Mirror now state De Gea has accepted he’ll have to assume some form of pay-cut, though still wishes to receive ‘an amount that reflects his value.’ Clearly, United haven’t come close to matching the figure he has in mind just yet.

When speaking in a press conference ahead of United’s Europa League tie with Sevilla, De Gea offered a coy response when asked about his future.

De Gea on Man Utd future; responds to critics

“It is time just to be focused as we play many games in a row,” said De Gea (via the Mirror). “It is not time to lose focus and think about contracts.

“My aim is to keep going and play my best.”

On the subject of criticism of his game, De Gea came out fighting.

“When we keep a clean sheet, it means the team and I did a good job,” added the stopper. “But criticism is always there, you cannot please everyone.

“I have 20 clean sheets, close to the most in Europe, so we are doing a great job and I help the team do it.”

Man Utd eyeing LaLiga ace

In the event United and their longest-serving player are unable to find common ground, speculation is growing a LaLiga-based goalkeeper will be turned to.

Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili is the man in question, with a third source recently conforming he’s on United’s radar.

The 22-year-old – who stands at an imposing 6ft 5in tall – has been Valencia’s standout performer in what has otherwise been a disastrous campaign at the Mestalla. The Spanish heavyweight currently sit 18th in LaLiga.

Without their Georgian superstar their situation would be even bleaker. That’s a scenario they may be forced into accepting come the summer.

COPE, Fabrizio Romano and more recently 90min have detailed United’s interest in the player. Mamardashvili was also deemed ‘keen’ to experience a new challenge and can be signed for around £30m.

If an offer in that range is bid, Valencia won’t stand in Mamardashvili’s way.

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