Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd persisting with gamble transfer despite two red flags, with £64m move to oust club icon

FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa

Man Utd are still interested in signing a Portugal international who dropped two clangers at the World Cup, and his club’s primary focus to begin 2023 has emerged, per a report.

The future of David de Gea is a subject Manchester United can not ignore for much longer. De Gea, 32, is a modern-day club icon and but for his heroics between the sticks, the post-Ferguson era would’ve been a whole lot bleaker.

The Spaniard’s current deal expires in the summer, though United do hold an option for an extra 12 months.

De Gea rarely lets United down, though his glovework isn’t why his future is in doubt. Indeed, Erik ten Hag is known to want a more mobile goalkeeper who’ll both adopt a higher starting position and is more comfortable with his feet.

De Gea also collects a whopping £375,000-a-week salary. As such, it stands to reason if a new No 1 is signed, De Gea will leave. There is zero sense paying a back-up that kind of money to warm the bench.

One player persistently linked with United in the run-up to the World Cup was FC Porto’s Diogo Costa.

The 23-year-old rose to prominence this season through a series of stand-out displays in the Champions League. Costa became the first goalkeeper to save three penalties in a Champions League campaign (excluding shoot-outs). What’s more, he achieved the feat in the group stage alone.

Costa penned fresh terms with Porto on November 3, though that did little to dissuade United. Indeed, the stopper’s release clause was raised from £44m to approximately £64m, a figure still well within United’s means.

He was given the nod to start for Portugal at the World Cup and much was expected, though little was delivered.

Diogo Costa delivers disasterclass in Qatar

Costa dropped two clangers in Qatar, with the latter proving decisive as Portugal bowed out to surprise package Morocco.

His first error came against Ghana when failing to check if there were any opposition players lurking when preparing to launch the ball up-field. Costa placed the ball on the floor and was dispossessed by Inaki Williams, though the Ghanaian slipped at the vital moment and did not punish the mistake.

Costa was then beaten in the air by Youssef En-Nesyri for Morocco’s winning goal against Portugal in the quarter final. Many might’ve expected those two red flags to ward off United, though per A Bola, that’s not the case.

Via Sport Witness, the Portuguese outlet have provided an update on Costa and claim United’s interest ‘stays firm’.

Clearly, the Red Devils aren’t prepared to let a couple of individual errors cloud their judgement of a player with an otherwise exemplary record.

Any Costa move will have to wait until next summer at the earliest. At that point, United will be forced into making a decision on De Gea’s future one way or another.

Costa’s agent is Jorge Mendes who has brought many a player to Old Trafford in the past. The presence of a release clause also lets United know where they stand.

Porto will have no say in the matter if the release clause is triggered, though they have more pressing concerns at present.

Following Costa’s World Cup nightmare, it’s claimed their main priority right now is to build the player’s confidence back up. Understandably, he’s not flying high at present.

Barcelona and Chelsea are also believed to be in the mix for Costa in a future window. All three will be hoping Costa does not suffer any lingering after-effects from a harrowing experience in Qatar.

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