Man Utd join Liverpool in pursuit of rising star but two obstacles remain for keeper capture
Manchester United are set to rival Liverpool for the signature of young Anderlecht goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen but there is work to do on any potential deal.
Verbruggen, 20, has been turning heads with his displays for Les Mauves et Blancs. Despite his tender years, the imposing shot-stopper has made a seamless transition from the reserves to the first team. He began 2022-2023 in the club’s ‘futures’ side but was promoted to the senior setup on Boxing Day last year.
The former NAC Breda keeper has now made 16 appearances for Brian Riemer’s side, keeping six clean sheets.
Aside from his league outings, the ex-Netherlands Under-18 player has enjoyed four outings in the Europa Conference League.
He is clearly one for the future, with the Premier League duo on the case.
Liverpool were linked last month. It is unlikely that Alisson Becker will be departing the Reds anytime soon but the same cannot be said for back-up keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
The Republic of Ireland international spent four years in the Merseysiders’ youth setup before making his first-team debut in September 2019.
But he has been used sparingly by Jurgen Klopp, with just four league outings and 20 overall appearances.
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At 24, he needs to be playing regular football and that seems unlikely to happen in his current surroundings.
Klopp is a big fan and refused his request to go out on loan. Reports suggest the Cork-born ace’s patience is wearing thin and a summer exit may be on the cards.
Therefore the link to Verbruggen makes sense.
Anderlecht keen to keep Verbruggen
Verbruggen is clearly a talented player and it is inevitable that he will move on sooner rather than later. However, there is the age old conundrum about a decrease in playing time.
He is top dog at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium and gaining valuable experience in both domestic and European football.
The starlet will be on the bench at Liverpool and it is likely to be the same story at Old Trafford.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Manchester United are also on the case. David de Gea will be out of contract at the end of the current campaign.
There is an option for a further year in his contract and talks have taken place over a possible extension.
But even if the Spain star does leave, it is unlikely that Erik ten Hag would throw Verbruggen into the mix.
Indeed, former Red Devils defender Gary Neville feels the north-west giants may have their eyes on Brentford star David Raya.
He has performed well for the Bees, helping them to eighth in the top-flight standings.
Verbruggen would again be playing second fiddle while gaining experience in the club’s cup teams.
It remains to be seen what happens with the Breda-born prospect. But the report states Anderlecht are hoping to keep him for at least another year.
However, they might look to cash in while his stock remains high. Indeed, he was called up to the Netherlands senior squad for the first time on Friday.
His current value is said to be in the region of €10m, a price that would be no issue to either of the Premier League giants.
Former Anderlecht coach Vincent Kompany tried to sign him for Burnley last summer but his club refused to play ball. He will be eager to play regularly and they want him to stay.
However, it might have a different outcome if either of the interested clubs start to flex their muscles.
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