Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd get ‘serious’ for Champions League phenom who’d oust senior star Scholes knows isn’t right for Ten Hag

Man Utd stars Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, David de Gea, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez

Man Utd are ‘seriously thinking about’ acquiring a player who leads two statistical categories in the Champions League this term, and he’d replace a senior star unsuited to Erik ten Hag if signed, per reports.

Man Utd activated a raft of one-year options in several of their players’ contracts in December. Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford were among them, though one player curiously overlooked was David de Gea.

The 32-year-old remains one of United’s most trusted performers. Indeed, club legend Peter Schmeichel named De Gea as one of only three United stars who can hold their heads up high following the Sevilla collapse.

United elected to avoid triggering De Gea’s option in favour of forging a new, long-term agreement with the stopper. His current deal expires at season’s end and as yet, a new one isn’t close.

Indeed, De Gea is known to have rejected United’s first concrete offer back in late-March. He currently pockets around £375,000-a-week and United hope De Gea will accept a massive pay-cut to around £200,000-a-week. Doing so would bring him in line with the club’s newly-implemented ‘Ronaldo rule’.

The Mirror recently reported De Gea is fully aware he’ll have to accept a decrease in pay. However, for the time being at least, the two camps are far apart on just how big the slash in wages should be.

Aside from the financial issue, there’s also rampant speculation De Gea isn’t all that 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.

De Gea recently provided a non-committal answer when asked about his future at Old Trafford. Club legend Paul Scholes appeared more than a little dismayed at the response, and echoed the claims De Gea isn’t actually what Ten Hag wants from a goalkeeper.

“That is a very vague answer, if you ask me. Not too sure what to take from that,” Scholes told BT Sport (via the Mirror).

“Look, he’s been a fantastic goalkeeper for Man Utd for such a long time, there were rumours a few years ago when it looked like he wanted to go back to Madrid, going to Real Madrid didn’t quite happen, and look, he’s been a fantastic goalkeeper for United.

“I think the only weakness you’d say is he’s not great with his feet, he’s not a brilliant footballer from the back and I’d think this manager does want that.

“On the other hand, how do you replace a goalkeeper of his quality? To me that [clean sheets] are the most important thing, but modern day football, they want a goalkeeper who can play football, don’t they?”

Man Utd looking into UCL king

United are known to be on the lookout for a high class number two this summer. If an agreement with De Gea isn’t forged, a new number one – not a two – will be required.

On that front, reports out of Italy suggest Man Utd are primed to get serious for Inter Milan’s Andre Onana.

The 27-year-old Cameroon international was a free agent signing from Ajax last summer. Inter already had one of Serie A’s best in Samir Handanovic between the sticks, though Onana wasted little time displacing the Slovenian ace.

Onana quickly justified the faith shown by manager Simone Inzaghi and has been a veritable brick wall in the Champions League this term.

Indeed, Onana’s mark of six clean sheets is the most kept by any goalkeeper in the competition this season. He’s yet to concede a single goal across his three outings in the knockout rounds too.

Even more remarkable is his monstrous lead in the goals prevented category.

Onana sits atop the pile with a figure of 7.8 goals prevented. That puts him three clear of Club Brugge’s Simon Mignolet (4.8) in second, and 3.4 goals prevented clear of Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (4.4) in third, according to FotMob.

Understandably, Inter are reluctant to part ways with such a dependable performer. However, Inter are in a hole financially and need to raise around £50m this summer to balance the books.

That’s led to speculation wing-back Denzel Dumfries or Liverpool target Nicolo Barella could be sacrificed. However, Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reckon Onana could be the one.

If the greenlight is given, it’s claimed (via FCInter1908) both Man Utd and Chelsea are ‘seriously’ thinking about moving for Onana.

READ MORE: Paul Scholes pinpoints ‘serious’ Man Utd issue that could damage their Champions League hopes