Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd among clubs ‘carefully monitoring’ England star over succession plan for under-threat Ten Hag man

Jordan Pickford, Declan Rice, Kyle Walker, June 2022

Manchester United reportedly have Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on their radar amid uncertainty over David de Gea.

Spain international De Gea has proved a fantastic servant for the Red Devils since his arrival in 2011. He initially struggled but quickly became one of the first names on the team sheet.

As a result, he has won four Player of the Year awards at Old Trafford. And in September 2019, he earned a bumper new contract worth over £350,000 per week.

However, De Gea is now in the final season of those terms, although Man Utd do have a one-year option.

According to The Telegraph, the Red Devils are still unsure whether to activate the season-long extension for the 31-year-old.

Instead, United are working out their long-term plan for between the sticks. They could indeed sign a new long-term goalkeeping option and the report claims that Pickford is on their radar.

In fact, a number of clubs are supposedly ‘carefully monitoring’ the 28-year-old Everton star as a potential option. The England No. 1’s terms expire in 2024, but it remains unclear if he will renew.

Pickford situation an intriguing one

That situation will of course depend on Everton’s progress. While they have ambitions of challenging for European football with a new stadium coming down the track, they are currently focusing on Premier League stability.

Last term, they eventually edged away from relegation, but their long trophy drought shows no signs of ending any time soon.

And that could inspire Pickford, who has achieved his England dream, to seek out more accolades at club level.

As for De Gea, The Telegraph adds that Man Utd are especially considering the goalkeeper’s future after their wage bill rose.

As revealed by chief executive Richard Arnold in his finances conference call this week, the Old Trafford club’s wage bill increased to £384million last season.

De Gea’s salary reduced to £350,000 per week after his side failed to make the Premier League’s top four. Nevertheless, a one-year extension – let alone a new deal – would prove a big investment.

Pickford would of course count as a homegrown player, which is appealing to Premier League clubs amid tightening transfer rules after Brexit.

Man Utd face big De Gea decision

The decision over De Gea‘s future will prove one of the biggest for Man Utd in recent seasons.

Amid criticism for players across the pitch, the goalkeeper has seemingly proved the one constant who the Red Devils cannot live without.

And after going through a tough patch in recent seasons, he was back to his best last season.

In those senses, he would warrant a one-year extension and maybe even a new contract.

On the flipside, there are growing concerns from fans about how the club is run, with the Glazers in the spotlight.

United’s wage bill reveal this week, coupled with the prospect of another big deal for an ageing De Gea, makes a case for allowing him to leave on a free transfer and change strategy.

In any case, Man Utd have to prioritise on-pitch success with the decision they make. Manager Erik ten Hag has ambitions to return his new club to its former glories, which he cannot do without a top-class goalkeeper.

Pickford has also proven his worth for Everton in the Premier League – and for England. And given the slow progress at Everton, the Toffees star may fancy a new challenge in the North West.