For the last one and a half seasons, Dean Henderson has been Manchester United’s ‘cup goalkeeper’.
This run came to an end last night with Henderson omitted from the matchday squad for the FA Cup match with Aston Villa.
Former academy star Danny Webber told MUTV, “I think Ralf wants the stability of keeping De Gea in there right now.”
De Gea certainly deserved to keep his place, and this now leaves Henderson looking to the exit.
Loan move most likely
The MEN report Henderson is expecting to leave on a loan deal before the end of the month.
The report states: “Efforts are continuing to secure Henderson a loan move before deadline day in three weeks’ time as he wants regular playing time.”
The issue comes with interim boss Ralf Rangnick stating he wanted three first team ready goalkeepers available, in case of injury or Covid.
If United loan out Henderson, then Tom Heaton will be number two to David de Gea.
Behind that the issue is a little cloudier. Lee Grant is technically next in line, but the 38-year-old is not the most inspiring back-up.
United would be better off promoting Matej Kovar from the under-23s, who recently earned a call-up into the Czech Republic senior squad.
Next manager will have final say
United could quite easily cash in on Dean Henderson and sell him now. If there was a desire to. With the goalkeeper under contract until 2025, United could fetch upwards of £30 million for him, with Arsenal paying around that figure for Aaron Ramsdale.
But there is no pressure despite Henderson’s misgivings over his lack of football, and a loan move is United taking a stance of kicking the decision on to the club’s next manager, rather than letting interim boss Ralf Rangnick sanction the sale of a big asset.
While Rangnick will play a strategic consulting role for United, the ultimate decision will be down to the club’s next manager, whether that is Mauricio Pochettino, Erik Ten Hag, or other.
With Henderson seemingly ready to accept a loan, rather than demand a permanent sale, it shows he is open to a fresh start under a new boss in the summer too, to try and start afresh. Or potentially there could even be an 18-month loan, pushing a decision back to the summer of 2023.
Either way the door remains open at United, he just needs to play football in the short-term, having played just two competitive matches since May last year.
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