Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Suspicious Ten Hag inspires Man Utd U-turn on already ‘signed’ agreement amid perplexing plan B

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United have retracted their contract offer to David De Gea, reports have revealed, with the goalkeeper now looking more likely to accept a lucrative move to a new league.

De Gea is due to become a free agent at the end of the month, since Man Utd have no intention of using their option to extend his contract by another 12 months. Although he has been their regular starting goalkeeper still, they would not want to keep him on his current wages of £375,000 per week.

Therefore, Man Utd have been negotiating a new deal with De Gea, whereby he would earn less – around £200,000 per week – but get to continue his lengthy spell with the club.

Back in April, an agreement was said to be close after Man Utd adjusted the structure of their contract offer to the Spain international.

A month later, though, it was emphasised that De Gea would not be guaranteed the number one role if he was to stay at Man Utd.

And a couple of weeks ago, it emerged that De Gea was now on the verge of leaving Man Utd after the latest twist in the saga.

Now, The Athletic has clarified what exactly has happened. According to the report, Man Utd have decided to ‘back out’ of their proposal to De Gea – despite the fact that he already ‘signed’ it.

Whereas De Gea gave his green light to staying on reduced terms, the club hesitated on signing their side of the paperwork.

According to the Daily Mail, that’s because Erik ten Hag is still sceptical about De Gea’s suitability for his style of playing out from the back. The manager has frequently shared his trust in De Gea publicly, but without ever confirming he would remain his first-choice goalkeeper next season.

Now, both The Athletic and the Daily Mail deem a departure for De Gea on a free transfer to be the most likely outcome. Each source indicates he could receive a wealthy offer to play in Saudi Arabia.

Per The Athletic, De Gea does actually have another offer on the table from Man Utd still. But the latest proposal is on even lower terms than the one they pulled out of agreeing with him.

Therefore, it could be the end of an era for the Premier League Golden Glove winner.

How will Man Utd replace De Gea?

In terms of replacing him, both sources confirm reports that Man Utd have held talks about signing Andre Onana from Inter.

Onana used to play for Ten Hag at Ajax, so knows what it takes to fit into his system. Inter may have to cash in on the Cameroonian because of financial issues, but could attract a good fee for him after he starred on their journey to becoming Champions League runners up.

Another potential replacement for De Gea as Man Utd number one would be the simpler solution of Dean Henderson. The academy graduate spent the 2022-23 season on loan at Nottingham Forest.

The Athletic suggests he could yet return to Old Trafford as first choice. However, a couple of days ago, the Manchester Evening News claimed Henderson was ‘perplexed’ by speculation of a Man Utd reintegration and still expects to stay with Forest permanently.

Therefore, a new recruit seems to be on the agenda. The Mail lists Diogo Costa of Porto, David Raya of Brentford and Bart Verbruggen of Anderlecht as alternative targets to Onana.

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