Could next season see Nathan Bishop's Manchester United breakthrough?
Goalkeeper Nathan Bishop will be keeping a close eye on the goings-on at Manchester United this summer.
While the 21-year-old is currently fourth in the pecking order, he could be elevated quickly.
With Dean Henderson staking his claim to be United’s undisputed number one, the future looks increasingly uncertain for David de Gea.
The Spaniard is contracted to the Red Devils until 2023, but the birth of his first child has seen talk of a return to his homeland.
One thing is for sure: De Gea will not want to play second fiddle to Henderson at United. If he is overlooked long term, the 30-year-old could well move on.
Lee Grant’s contract expires this summer, so he could also leave. While Sergio Romero’s exit is guaranteed. That could thrust Bishop into the spotlight as United’s number two.
There could be a sensible alternative. Grant has spoken of his happiness at United – despite barely playing – so he could yet sign an extension and ease Bishop’s transition.
But, whatever happens, the youngster should be given his shot.
Bishop arrived at United under the radar after impressing at Southend United. He made 83 appearances for the League One club, impressing as a teenager and getting the Red Devils’ attention.
Originally signing a two-and-a-half year deal, Bishop has now committed to United until 2023 and he is a regular in first-team training.
A dream come true
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News after agreeing that extension, Bishop said, “It’s the biggest club in the world and it’s unbelievable to be around the players here.”
If De Gea remains, a loan move next season looks likely. But, if he leaves, do not be surprised if Bishop steps up.
He has been lined up as a first team understudy and could benefit from a few runouts in the cups. That would also give Henderson the confidence to excel, knowing the player behind him is a youngster moving up, rather than a readymade star.
Time will tell what United have planned for Bishop, but do not be surprised if next season is his breakthrough. After his patience so far, it would be well deserved.