TEAMtalk has learned Man Utd have listened to Erik ten Hag who is the driving force behind an imminent deal for a player Paul Scholes has reservations about.
A number of positions are set to come under the microscope at Old Trafford this summer. An elite-level centre-forward is priority number one, while a box-to-box midfielder (potentially Marcel Sabitzer) and an attacking upgrade at right-back are wanted.
However, a change between the sticks has also been floated, with David de Gea’s future coming to a crossroads.
The Spaniard, 32, is unquestionably a modern-day United great. He’s a four-time Man Utd Players’ Player of the Year and remains among the best in the world with his hands.
However, doubts have been voiced as to whether he’s the profile of goalkeeper truly suited to Erik ten Hag.
The Dutch boss favours a possession-based game that requires his goalkeeper to be comfortable on the ball and adopt a high starting position. For all his strengths with the gloves, De Gea remains painfully limited with his feet.
Club legend Paul Scholes recently joined those who’ve questioned whether Ten Hag might seek a more rounder goalkeeper.
Scholes said while working for BT Sport: “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 to succeed with second attempt
United opted against triggering the one-year option in De Gea’s contract in favour of forging a longer-term deal.
However, De Gea has been asked to accept a sizeable wage cut on his £375,000-a-week salary. The first offer put forward was quickly rebuffed by the stopper, per the Mirror.
ESPN subsequently reported progress in negotiations has been made and many aspects of a new deal have since been ‘finalised’.
Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, transfer insider Graeme Bailey revealed not only is a new deal close, but it’s thanks in large part to Erik ten Hag.
Bailey told us the Dutchman has strong-armed Man Utd’s board into sanctioning the new contract for De Gea. The Spaniard is poised to sign a multi-year deal, though it won’t tie him down for the rest of his career.
Nonetheless, De Gea is backing himself to earn a second extension further down the line.
Ten Hag throws backing behind De Gea
“Erik Ten Hag has sanctioned the deal and it should not be underestimated how much United are listening to him on this,” said Bailey. “His opinion is of utmost importance to the United board.
“De Gea has a real standing within the club and the dressing room and that has had a major bearing on the situation.
“The new deal will not be a long-term deal, but De Gea is backing himself to earn another deal after this.
“He is confident he still has a number of years left in him at United.”