Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Superstar Ten Hag wants to replace Man Utd icon poised for agreement that’ll see transfer cost soar

Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa

A goalkeeper one observer thinks is on par with Alisson Becker could get a new deal that will make Erik ten Hag’s plans of replacing Man Utd legend David de Gea all the more difficult, per reports.

De Gea can stake a legitimate claim to already being a Man Utd legend. He recently became the first player from outside of the UK and Ireland to make 500 appearances for the club.

The Spaniard is the club’s reigning Player of the Year having pipped Cristiano Ronaldo to the award last season. His tally for that particular prize now stands at four having won the award in the 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2017–18 campaigns.

However, despite still only being 31, speculation is beginning to grow his future will lay away from Old Trafford.

De Gea’s contract expires next summer, though the club do hold an option for an extra 12 months.

But according to Gary Neville, new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will be “absolutely adamant” in his belief he needs a ball-playing goalkeeper.

For all his shot-saving abilities, De Gea has never been known for his footwork or distribution.

Dean Henderson no longer looks like the long-term successor to De Gea following the bridges he burned on the way out to Nottingham Forest. Whether he’d be good enough on the ball to satisfy Ten Hag is open to debate anyway.

Instead, recent reports out of Portugal have put FC Porto’s Diogo Costa in that mix.

Porto ace up there with Alisson and Courtois

The 23-year-old is flying high and recently courted lofty praise from ex-Chelsea midfielder, Maniche.

“Diogo Costa is not only at this moment one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, but also in the whole world,” said Maniche.

“I honestly think that the value of the clause is short for his quality. Look at the example of Kepa, who was sold for €80m, or Alisson and Courtois.

“Currently Diogo Costa is not behind them. Probably, to the dismay of the fans, he won’t be at FC Porto for long.

“He has every chance of becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. He is already at the level of the best.”

The clause Maniche referred to is a release clause in Costa’s contract. It’s currently set at £51m – a figure that would represent tremendous value for a player who could be United’s goalkeeper for the next decade.

United are understood to have been monitoring Costa for some time. One report in Portugal claimed the Red Devils are fronting the queue for his signature.

However, according to O Jogo, Porto will initiate their own plan to ward off Man Utd.

Porto plan to tie Costa down to a new contract that would protect their investment.

Furthermore, it’s claimed the terms of the new deal would result in Costa’s £51m release clause being raised.

To what level it would be set at isn’t cited. However, given the calibre of player Diogo Costa is, logic would dictate a fee that would make him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper would be targeted.

The record in that regard is currently held by Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga (£72m).

Should Man Utd sign Diogo Costa anyway?

If United are serious about backing Ten Hag – and there’s no suggestion they aren’t – Diogo Costa must be signed.

One only has to look at how influential a goalkeeper can be when observing the displays of Ederson and Alisson on Sunday.

Liverpool and Man City have been the league’s two finest sides over the last five years. It’s no coincedence they also possess the league’s two best goalkeepers.

Alisson bagged another assist – his third for Liverpool – when teeing up Mohamed Salah’s winner. But for Ederson’s world class save from the Egyptian earlier in the contest, Liverpool would already have been ahead.

Both Brazilians act as an extra outfield player when their sides are in possession. Ten Hag wants his side to dominate possession, but having a keeper who is limited on the ball like De Gea is a drawback he can do without.

High fees for goalkeepers are becoming increasingly common. Few would argue Alisson wasn’t worth every penny of his £66.8m move to Anfield.

Even if Costa signs a new deal at Porto, Man Utd may still hope the Portuguese international can have a similar impact at Old Trafford. The downside is they may have to make Costa the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in the process.

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