Tom Heaton is close to agreeing his return to Manchester United as a replacement for Sergio Romero in the summer, a report claims.
Romero is expected to leave United as a free agent this summer after growing unsettled at the club. It will leave them in need of a new back-up option. There are also doubts about whether David De Gea will stay if Dean Henderson becomes number one. Hence, the Red Devils need more depth in that department.
Heaton emerged as a possible solution last month. He came through the youth ranks at United before going on to enjoy a productive career elsewhere.
His longest stint came with Burnley, whom he left for Aston Villa in 2019. But the three-cap England international has lost his place to Emiliano Martinez and could be on the move.
Like Romero, Heaton will be a free agent this summer, so United would not have to pay a transfer fee to bring him back to Old Trafford.
At 35 years old, it seems he is ready to take such a step, acting as more of a mentor who would still be there if called upon.
According to The Telegraph, the deal for Heaton to return to United, for whom he never made a senior appearance in his previous spell, is “close”.
The club have been working “swiftly” to get him in to provide depth. Free to sign a pre-contract agreement, it seems the deal could become official soon.
United still view Heaton as a “reliable” option should he need to be called upon. He may not have featured all season for Villa, but on his day was among England’s best goalkeepers.
Therefore, he could earn a return to his first senior club.
Solskjaer has difficult goalkeeper decision
Over the weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that De Gea may not play in the Europa League final showdown with Villarreal.
Such a proposition would have seemed a distant one in seasons gone by at the Old Trafford giants. However, Henderson has now usurped the Spaniard and has become the firm Premier League No. 1.
As such, De Gea has instead played in all four Europa League ties since the quarter-final first leg.
Still, the final of the competition poses different challenges in itself. There is no second leg in which to rectify a bad result, while a trophy ultimately awaits after victory.
As a result, Henderson could well get the nod in Gdansk on May 26, but Solskjaer insists that he has not decided who he will pick.
“I’ve got to make difficult decisions before the final – but I feel I’ve got to make very difficult decisions every time I pick a team,” the manager told reporters (via the Daily Mirror).
“We’re Man Utd and we should have competition for every single spot in the team.
“I’ve always got top quality players on the bench, whether it is centre-forward, right-wing, right-back, centre-midfield or keeper.
“I’ve said it so many times that I’m the luckiest manager in the world with the two keepers I’ve got.”